Musical Arrangements and director: Mary Ekler
Reviewer: Christopher Owen
Stefanie Powers has had a career in show business since she was 15. And here in the bustling scene of the Matcham room at the Hippodrome Casino, she makes her London cabaret debut with a solid if not spectacular tribute to the lyrics of Lorenz Hart.
Interspersed with tales of Hart’s and her own troubled life, she performed with elegance and tact, conveying everything the lyrics were intended to with an emotion that, during the musical numbers at least, seemed raw and real.
When addressing the audience, however, it often felt that the show was possibly over-rehearsed. While scripted spoken parts in-between numbers ensure that audiences are educated on the material, in such an intimate venue as the Matcham Room it often felt awkward and separated Powers from the audience. Each time though, she managed to pull it back and regain the audience’s full attention with the next number – a particular standout was a beautiful performance of My Funny Valentine, which was pitched just right.
With beautiful arrangements by Mary Ekler, the songs were truly at the h(e)art of this night, and were peppered with truly interesting tales of their origin – the story of how Blue Moon became Blue Moon surprised many and provided a lovely run of ‘draft’ versions of the songs.
While Stefanie Powers doesn’t quite have the voice – and range – to lend to all the melodies in this program, she more than makes up for this with her attention to feeling and pain in the lyrics and is engaging throughout, and it is undeniable how much passion she has for this area of music.