Thursday, June 11, 2009

Shoshana Bean Sings Streisand @ The Ford Amphitheatre

CABARET review
Upright L.A. Cabaret
Chris Isaacson & Shane Scheel, producers
Thursday, June 11 - Opening of
L.A. Gay Pride Week
@ The Ford:
Shoshana Bean: A Happening at the Ford
(part of Upright Cabaret's "Wicked" Summer Nights)

Some singers defy description. They are just so plain amazing that it is difficult to classify them. Shoshana Bean happens to be amongst la creme de la creme of musical artists. Her versatility allows her to do an hour set of Barbra Steisand songs-quite effortlessly and beautifully, and then, as if by magic, present a 50 minute rock/pop set from her new solo album
Bean is also charismatic with a girl-next-door appeal and a humorous way with telling a story. Take, for example, the traditional Yiddish love tale hilariously told by Streisand many years ago. Bean found her own eclectic way into it, and then needlessly confided her nervousness about replicating it. Therein lies the wholesomeness of Shoshana Bean who, like her aunt before her, rinses out and reuses ziploc baggies. Charming!
Having grown up on Streisand tunes, and having seen every televised concert, I felt like I was in hog heaven during Act I. Bean performed about 22 songs, including Chopin's "Minute Waltz". She put her own indelible stamp on "Down With Love", "You'll Never Know", "Cry Me a River", the "Second Hand Rose" medley, "Evergreen" (Streisand's own composition - now that takes guts! Bean is her own superhero!),
"Don't Rain On My Parade", "I'm the Greatest Star" (another brave turn), "Some of these Days" and the finale "Happy Days Are Here Again" (equal bravery!) The wonderful Gerald Sternbach served as musical director for this half. Miss Bean's cream-colored, beige & satiny, sparkly gown and upswept hairstyle were so appropriate for Streisand.
In Act II, Bean switched bands and musical directors -to Matt Cusson, to perform six numbers from her bestselling CD, Superhero. Quite a switch from Act I standards, these vocals are fast-paced, sassy rock vocal arrangements, of which I particularly enjoyed "Like My Man" and Bean's own composition "On 116" which poignantly , but not sentimentally, relates a tragic past love affair. Lindsay Rose and Jacqueline Arnold, whom Bean referred to as the Twin Towers, splendidly provided back-up vocals. Bean's Act I gown converted to a white jacket/mini-skirt ensemble, and with her hair down on her shoulders, the entire look added a smouldering touch to the diversified contemporary set.
After an emotional, mini speech laden with gratitude to her mentor Barbra Streisand, Bean performed a lovely rendition of "The Way We Were" and as a finale made the ultimately dramatic "My Man" totally her own special creation.
This was an evening to remember under the stars at the Ford Amphitheatre thanks to Upright Cabaret, Isaacson and Sheel and the supreme artistry of Shoshana Bean. She's a true original!


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