Reviewed by Joe Regan Jr.
Nov. 7, 2013
Two time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole celebrated her new CD “Strings Attached” with her 54 Below debut featuring the Aaron Weinstein Trio featuring Matt Baker on piano and Paul Gill on bass. Yes, Weinstein was terrific on the violin and also on two numbers on the amplified mandolin; Baker and Gill were both brilliant support. A sold out house cheered Ebersole on every song and she showed her versatility by singing some songs simply and with a strong belt! After Weinstein performed a jazzy “Lady Be Good,“ Ebersole opened with a wild jazzy “Shall We Dance” (Gershwin).
Ebersole’s patter was full of personal memories, including the back-handed compliments she got from friends playing the bitchy Dorothy Brock in the revival of “42nd Street.” She began “Lullaby of Broadway,” sweet and simple, but by the end of the number she was effortlessly belting out the last chorus!
Ebersole and Weinstein reminisced they were both from the same Midwest area and both went to the legendary New Trier High School (although at different times). Ebersole confessed she was playing second violin in her high school orchestra during a production of “Finian’s Rainbow” and decided one night she’d rather be on stage. She sang a touching and beautiful “How Are Things In Glocca Morra” demonstrating that she did belong on stage!
Ebersole showed her great jazz chops again on a swinging version of “This Time The Dream’s On Me,” even scatting on the final chorus! She changes pace on a moving version of “I’ll Be Seeing You” dedicated to Weinstein.
Weinstein did his familiar bit about joining the Paul Whiteman band and advising George Gershwin how to improve a new melody leading into his virtuoso playing of “Somebody Loves Me.”
Ebersole does an autobiographical riff about her three sons and her adopted Chinese daughter and trying to tutor that genius child in her homework. It leads into a sterling personal rendition of “Right As The Rain,” easily one of the best performances of that familiar Arlen/Harburg song.
When Weinstein reveals his new mandolin, Ebersole and he perform a great version of “Tangerine.” They follow that up with a rocking “Fine and Dandy” (Kay Swift). There was a standing ovation!
The encore, showcasing all the musicians, is a stirring “Love Is Here To Stay,” prompting another standing ovation. No question that Ebersole is one of New York’s treasures both in theatre and cabaret! And buy that CD!
Christine Ebersole with the Aaron Weinstein Trio “Strings Attached” repeats at 54 Below Friday, November 8 at 8 PM. Reservations are strongly recommended. Go to www.54below.com or call 646-478-3551