A modern troubadour of domesticity, Tina deVaron’s songs movingly explore ordinary family life with sensitivity and humor.
By Joel Benjamin
Tina deVaron is a troubadour of domesticity, an intelligent observer of the highs and lows of marriage, parenthood and suburbia. She somehow turns her homey subjects into poetry, drawing tears as often as laughter. On a cold New York evening, at the Metropolitan Room, she gathered five terrific singers, all totally in synch with her sensibilities, and five extraordinarily expressive musicians (including her own son, Nick Lerangis guitar), lovingly gifting her audience with her songs: Nothing but the Love – An Evening of Songs by Tina deVaron.
The general subject matter was broached with “Mother of the Year” sung by Adriane Lenox and the “company”: Jenn Colella, Liz Larsen, Kenita Miller and Sal Viviano, all Broadway veterans. The song was a list of the ups and downs of motherhood and the difficulty keeping it all together. Ms. Colella sang “Girl You Might’ve Been,” a contemplation of paths not taken while “Rocking Chair,” sung by Ms. Larsen and her husband, Mr. Viviano, turned that ordinary piece of furniture into a symbol of comfort and yearning.
The male point of view was expressed by Mr. Viviano in the sweetly touching “Kite Song.” Flying a kite becomes a connection between father and son, a symbol of sharing and time spent together. The glow in his eyes as he sang revealed his deep connection to this gentle anthem to fatherhood.
Ms. deVaron, substituting for an absent singer, joined Ms. Colella in “Somebody” which bemoaned an under-appreciated mom’s loss of identity and self-worth. The two also sang “No Time to Watch” about modern parents’ terrible habit of recording every event on video and not really living life.
Young powerhouse Kenita Miller turned “Without My Mother” and “Nothing But Love” into delicate observations on different aspects of motherhood. Adriane Lenox, a gloriously complex singer, gave “Come Home to Me” an aching quality and the gentle “Water Over Stones” in which the passage of time only strengthens relationships. All the women bitched about “Gravity” which has taken its toll on their bodies.
Every singer, including Ms. deVaron gave life to these songs. The band, led by Annbritt duChateau on piano, her hubby Charles duChateau on cello, David Phillips on bass and the ubiquitous Larry Lelli on drums, played Ms. duChateau’s unusually colorful arrangements, surprisingly rich for a cabaret act.
34 West 22nd St. between 5th & 6th Avenues
New York, NY
Reservations: 212-206-0440 or www.metropolitanroom.com