Monday, November 17, 2008

Cabaret Review - Wild Women Don't Get the Blues - Mary Jo Mundy

Mary Jo Mundy at the M Bar in her all new show Wild Women Don't Get the Blues - Friday and Saturday, November 21 and 22.
Musical director/accompanist Todd Schroeder took his seat at the piano on the M Bar stage and began speaking from Camelot of King Arthur and then segued into song with "How to Handle a Woman". About a quarter of the way in Mary Jo Mundy stepped up on to the stage and picking up from where Schroeder left off, made her loving, truly original way into the lyrics. A different kind of opening and quite an unusual song for a female singer: "How to Handle a Woman", but then Mundy is not known for doing the ordinary; like a great singer should be, she is totally open and willing to startle and surprise.
And what an actress! Every lyric, every note, in fact, rings with meaning, from the depths of her soul. When she talked about calling her show A Siren's Call: Projections, Reflections of Being a Woman, she was recalling her own personal experiences - and this for anyone, takes tremendous courage. As a teenager, being called fat (I can relate to that!), being in love with a gay man: an unrequited love for Miss Mundy, and then on to obsessions with food, buying shoes (she owns 175 pair - more than Imelda Marcos?) and - sex!! Also, being tolerant of relations who demand that she be nothing short of perfect (It's impossible!). Very human feelings expressed via delightful songs - we must laugh at ourselves, after all - some new, some old, including "Mashed Potatoes" by Kevin Fisher, "I Want It Now" by Leslie Bricusse, "Wild Women Don't Get the Blues", allowing her to exude a lot of sensual charisma and "I Think He's Gay" by Pussy Tourette. More passionately serious numbers followed like "Moment of Madness" by Cy Coleman, the very dramatic "You Don't Know What Love Is" by Don Raye and Gene DePaul, the rousing "I'm Gonna Live" co-composed by Fisher and Schroeder and, dedicated to her hubbie of 21 years, Jim, the Beatles' wonderful "Here, There and Everywhere".
Mundy loves to bring her talented friends centerstage. She's sooo generous! This time, the tall and voluptuous Britta Berlongieri offered the sexy Jessica Rabbit number from the 80s film, and she was absolutely captivating. What a lovely set of pipes!
It was a somewhat risky, yet fully entertaining evening for Mundy and her devoted audience. It was also laid back, with Mundy pulling her audience in with ease and style. Truly memorable in every way - no wonder Mary Jo Mundy is one of my very favorite singers!
- and kudos to musicians Schroeder, and to Tony Mandracchia on guitar and banjo and last but not least to Terry Schonig on drums!


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