by Sandi Durell
A most unexpected pleasure is the debut of film icon Kathleen Turner at the sumptuous Café Carlyle. One doesn’t have to look at the stage, but just close your eyes to hear that familiar husky, low, low deep throaty voice to know who it is. Although singing is not her specialty, she will sweep you away in an emotional tide of feelings and the astonishing connection to, and displaying her uncanny dramatic abilities with, every song she touches. And there are many of them in this nearly two hour experience through which she welcomes her audience into her world, both personally and professionally.
Just back from a London tryout of Finding My Voice, she is surrounded by top musicians including musical director on piano and arranger, Mark Janas, along with iconic Sean Harkness on guitar and renowned bassist, Ritt Henn. Her stories are priceless and musically intertwined in songs that tell her remarkable life story . . . “Pick Yourself Up,” “Yesterday I Heard The Rain,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon;” happy to be single after 22 years of marriage “Nobody’s Heart Belongs to Me”/ “ Live Alone and Like It.”
She grew up the child of a diplomat, moving from place to place: Canada to Missouri, to Havana, on to London where she was bitten by the theater bug, and after her father’s death (she was 18), back to Missouri. She made her film debut in the legendary Body Heat that put her on the map. But none of that type casting for this lady who wanted to explore, winding up in Romancing the Stone (with Michael Douglas), Jewel of the Nile and Peggy Sue Got Married, directed by Francis Ford Coppela whom, she says, wanted to direct her from his trailer. Well tit for tat, “I’ll go act from mine!”
Her recent starring role at Arena Stage in Mother Courage and Her Children garnered raves. Turner is an activist and serves on the Boards of various groups including Planned Parenthood and City Meals on Wheels.
A powerful “Sweet Kentucky Ham” raised the bar, along with an emotional “Brother Can You Spare a Dime.”
The show is filled with heart, humor and pain. Especially the real pain of finding out she suffered from rheumatoid arthritis that nearly killed her until newly discovered treatments turned her life around; this after visiting specialists to find it was her own GP who sent her in the right direction, which she succinctly describes in “Send in the Clowns.”
From amusing tales of encounters with Dame Maggie Smith, “A Foggy Day,” to her mantra “Throw It Away,” Kathleen Turner is riveting as a consummate storyteller who has devised a winning method of making her audience sit up, take notice and listen, a remarkable experience! This first cabaret performance will now continue touring across the country.
Photos: David Andrako
You have the opportunity to see Kathleen Turner here in New York at the Café Carlyle (a Rosewood Hotel) through June 2 at 35 East 76 St. / Madison Ave. www.thecarlyle.com 212 744-1600