Marissa Mulder



 by Susan Hasho


About the title of her show, Marissa Mulder said, “People asked me if Eve refers to Eve Harrington” (in All About Eve). But no, it’s about Eve—the Adam and Eve—Eve.

For sure, this is a show about women. And just maybe, this is a collection of song vignettes that add up at the end to what a woman’s revolution sounds like—No choice; I’m not happy; getting free is impossible; I’m stuck; sticky dysfunction is hard to let go of and, finally, freedom (one hopes).
Mulder categorizes her songs as first “what went wrong,” and then “reality.” But the evening is open to interpretation for sure and a bit unclear.

She opened plaintively with “Dear Friend” (Harnick/Bock) set in a café, followed by a funny, “I’ve been waiting for your phone call for eighteen years” (Judie Cochill) and then she created a lovely character study out of “Artificial Flowers” (Bock/Harnick). “She made artificial flowers, artificial flowers, flowers for ladies of fashion to wear. She made artificial flowers, you know, those artificial flowers…Fashions from Annie’s despair.”

Then delightfully, out of the clear blue she sang full-out, “Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear” by Randy Newman. The story of a boy and his friendship with a dancing bear in her hands was a delightfully proud picture of a fabulous relationship (with choreography, of course).

The first quote was “Peace of mind—that’s what I crave” by Alanais Morissette followed by a haunting “Your House” and then the quote “Power is not given to you, you have to take it” (Beyonce) and “Single Ladies (put a ring on it).

Lady Diana, Princess of Wales said, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”  Mulder followed that quote with the uber-hopeful “Maybe This Time” (Kander/Ebb) from “Cabaret.” There were other quotes from the likes of Joan Rivers, Dolly Parton, Elaine Stritch, and Carrie Fisher. Joni Mitchell was represented by an incredible performance of “The Last Time I Saw Richard.”

Marissa Mulder has the ability to interpret a song so personally and deeply that you can almost forget that Joni Mitchell was its author. This was also the case with her performance of Tom Waits’ “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis.”

Toward the end of the evening, she described her relationship with an autistic brother and, taking him to a museum where, for four hours, he stood fascinated by Andy Warhol’s art and she sang “Nothing’s Gonna Harm You” and “I Remember Sky” (Sondheim) . . .  simply and beautifully. The last song “Roar” (Katy Perry, Bonnie McKee, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Cirkut) was a song of triumph and it was great fun to see Mulder perform it with a perfect combination of triumphant hope and sass.

Directed by Sondra Lee, with musical direction and accompaniment by Dennis Buck, “The Many Faces of Eve” was a mixture—funny, antic, sad, deeply felt—all with Marissa Mulder’s exquisite gift for choosing surprising, important material and creating a connection between herself, whatever character she’s illuminating and the audience with great honesty and wit.

Laurie Beechman Theatre, at the Westbank Café. 407 W 42nd Street, NY, NY 10036

(212) 695-6909