Carol Shedlin – Romance in the Dark


by Joe Regan Jr.


Carol Shedlin, a singer of certain mature age, each year announces that her current cabaret show is her last.  That’s what she did in 2014.  Shedlin has been performing cabaret acts since 1992.   Now she’s back again, doing an engagement at Don’t Tell Mama, aided and abetted by her music director Jon Delfin at the piano and Boots Maleson on bass in a show entitled “Romance in the Dark,”  imaginatively directed by Aaron Morishita.  The theme of the act focuses on her romantic past in the 1950s when she was a 21 year old girl working at Saks Fifth Avenue and going to clubs that had dance bands where she would dance with young Wall Street boys. 

Shedlin grew up in an affluent New York City suburb and was gifted after she graduated (where she majored in astronomy) with a wonderful Corvette convertible.  Shedlin opens the act with “When Lights Are Lo,” and, as a mature singer, her phrasing and singing never miss their mark.  She is smart enough not to strain the voice she now possesses and the whole act is a wonderful demonstration of how to select an appropriate song and tell a compelling narrative, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. The first segments, about those dates, features a slow “Sweet and Low Down,” “Doin’ the New Low Down,” and, relating to her astronomy background, “Out of My Dreams.”  Relating her search for the perfect husband, material she sings – “My Favorite Song” by Moose Charlap and Jack Gold, “The Music Stopped” by Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson, and “It Only Happens When I Dance With You” by Irving Berlin – were presented with great support from Delfin and Maleson.

She remembers driving with a date to a planetarium and talks about how much the moon is a romantic symbol of hope.  Shedlin sings “No Moon At All” and “I Wished on the Moon,” swinging lightly on the second choruses of each.   There is a clever combination of “But In The Morning No,” which is done as a back and forth duet with Delfin, and the Gershwins’ “The Half of It, Dearie Blues.”

Shedlin talks about all the pain in Lorenz Hart’s lyrics and does a full version, with the long verse, of the very cynical “Falling In Love With Love,” from The Boys from Syracuse coupled with a rueful “Isn’t It Romantic.”

At one point Shedlin remembers Julie Wilson and how religiously she attended other cabaret performers’ shows and how, when Wilson did her own shows, she would pack up her costumes, put on her tennis shoes, and take the PATH train at night back to her place in New Jersey. Wilson’s advice to Shedlin about singing, “do it with passion and above all, have fun!” and the audience will love you.  Shedlin carries the  thought over to her version of the song from Show Boat, “Life Upon the Wicked Stage,” sung very slowly and depicting how unglamorous the theatrical life is for a performer.  But to answer her own question, Shedlin then resurrects “Music Makes Me” from Flying Down To Rio.

The she tells us that she always retained her dream of being a band singer and expresses it in “Street of Dreams” and winds up with “Moonlight Serenade” and Lil Green‘s “Romance in the Dark.” 

The audience, full of cabaret singer fans, yelled for an encore which she stated she wasn’t prepared for.  However, she selected the rarely sung beauty “In the Dark” which was a dramatic close to a very entertaining and enlightening cabaret act.  One hopes that Shedlin will continue to do a new act again soon.

Carol Shedlin‘s “Romance in the Dark“ repeats at Don‘t Tell Mama, 343 West 46 Street, on Thursday, April 21 at 7 PM.  Reservations are strongly recommended  Call 212-757-0788 after 4 PM.