NY Music Review: Susan Hasho



Lauren Stanford performed the second of her 4-show engagement at The Metropolitan Room – I’m a Stranger Here Myself. She is the winner of the 2013 MetroStar Talent Challenge and this is her solo cabaret debut, directed by Eric Michael Gillett.

In I’m a Stranger Here Myself, she highlights her Kansas background and pulls in references to other singers from small towns like Helen Morgan, Mary Martin, Julie Wilson, Peggy Lee and Judy Garland. New York City means stardust to young aspiring artists, but Lauren Stanford seems very clear-eyed and intelligent about her career. Having won the Talent Challenge, she has brought Eric Michael Gillett on board to create and has chosen a wide range of material, standard and contemporary.

Disneyland (Hamlisch/Ashman) is an imaginative and funny way to introduce a coming-to-New-York dream, along with N.Y.C (Strouse/Charnin) and Another Hundred People (Sondheim). The Tale of the Oyster (Cole Porter) was a slight change of subject, but it is clear she has witty facility with a lyric. And indeed, she is a great storyteller. With Jason Robert Brown’s Summer in Ohio, she, in essence, joins a new generation to the past; and her wit, sincerity and lovely voice are all very well-suited to an intimate setting. When I Was a Boy (Dar Williams) was a highlight creating a complicated and fascinating musical moment with sensitivity and ease. The song from Sister Act –The Life I Never Led (Menken/Slater) about missed…everything, is a resounding anthem in Lauren Stanford’s hands.

This show is a debut of chances taken and dreams made real. She is lovely and easy to watch, capable of wrapping an audience in a sweet spell; and a welcome addition to the New York theatre/cabaret scene. She has 2 more shows: Friday July 18 and Friday August 1—both at 7pm.

Kathleen Stuart and MetroStar co-finalist Jason Morris are guest artists adding to the fun.

Musical director Mike Pettry on piano, Jacob Silver on bass and Jonathan Kantor on reeds.

Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)

For Tickets, MetropolitanRoom.com  

For Reservations: 212.206.0440