by: Sandi Durell
I’m happy to have found this review and interview I had with Elaine at the Cafe Carlyle and to share it with you!
(Sept. 14, 2011)
How can an 86 year old veteran actress keep coming up with new surprises? Seems to be unique to this sleek looking leggy icon, clad in her uniform of tights and long man-tailored silk shirt. Talk about being in the moment, Ms. Stritch has always been and continues to be hell bent on engaging her audiences with a feistiness and authoritative will power that says “I’m Still Here” so you better pay attention. And we do, we do!
In this return engagement “At Home at the Carlyle: Elaine Stritch Singin’ Sondheim . . . Again” – – – (Why Not?), we’re riveted to her interpretations as she sometimes sings, but mostly recites the lyrics to the Sondheim gems. It doesn’t matter one iota that she has difficulty remembering lyrics or patter and frequently needs Music Director Rob Bowman’s assistance. Watching Elaine Stritch perform is being bathed in the light of greatness. She’s a tough cookie, both philosophical and belligerent, always raising the bar in the art of storytelling.
After a sly, humor-ridden “I Feel Pretty” opening, she wows with a role she should have played, “Rose’s Turn.” There are wonderful personal stories about little Elaine in a regular ensemble (taffeta dress/coat) when she was 5 years old seeing her first Broadway show “Band Wagon” at the Shubert Theatre and about living and working with husband, John Bay, in London.
There’s a determination and special punctuations in “Everybody Says Don’t” and a soft-shoeish (her words) “Love Is in the Air” that comes up adorable and romantic in the delivery. Signature song “The Ladies Who Lunch” was an explosive frenzy.
Relating a story about saxophonist Lester Young first learning lyrics to every song he played, she proceeded to overwhelm her listeners reciting “Every Day a Little Death” that brought a new powerful meaning.
She is an intrepid performer with attitude, funny and sincere, and deserving of all the hoopla and kudos befitting a brilliant entertainer.
According to Ms. Stritch, she may name her next show “Sick of Sondheim” – it doesn’t matter, so long as she continues to bring her distinctive truth to her loving audiences.
Band members include: Lou Bruno, bass; Billy Miller, drums; Dave Gale, trumpet; Jack Gale, trombone, Scott Schachter, reeds.
Elaine Stritch is at the Carlyle, Tues. – Sat. thru October 8th. 212 744-1600 www.thecarlyle.com