Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cabaret review - Rachel York

I first saw Rachel York onstage in Kiss Me Kate and was astounded by her fierce acting style. She devoured the role of Kate and was consistently mesmerizing. I also saw her on DVD in a live tape performance of Victor/Victoria and was equally taken by her dazzling presence and comedic flair. Then at Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's she performed her solo show in September, 2007 and it was so good, I gave her Top Female Cabaret Artist on my List of Bests for that year. When I was invited to review her again at the Inner Circle of the Magic Castle, I jumped at the chance - and I only return to see those performers that I truly love. That's the reason I returned-and I will again! Not only does Rachel York possess a glorious instrument, she is terribly funny and her sense of humor infects everyone around her. Her 70-minute set is one of the most entertaining cabaret acts anywhere.
Entering with "Don't Rain On My Parade" she took hold of the crowd and held them spellbound. Other great singing moments were:"He Touched Me", another early Streisand favorite, "I Dreamed a Dream" - unlike Susan Boyle, she lived through the lyrics, playing Fantine in Les Mis, "My Heart Will Go On","Maybe This Time" preceded by a hilarious story about Liza replacing Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria, "Lonely Goatherd" preceded by a cute story about Julie's private walk in the Alps, and a stunning Burt Bacharach Medley entitled The Looks of Love.
If she missed an opening note, she stopped, laughed and began again, stating that she had only had one rehearsal with congenial musical director Eugene Gwozdz. Newcomers, who had never seen her before, were won over by her beauteous charisma and consummate vocals.
Rachel also does great voice impersonations of Barbra, Julie, Liza, Cher, Marilyn Monroe, to name a few. Her "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", which had served as her New York audition for City of Angels, in combo with "Diamonds Are Forever" was a nice surprise, as were her 2 encores - the jubilant sing-a-long"Those Were the Days" followed by a soaring, uniqely awesome interp of "Defying Gravity".
This beautiful lady, a cross between Raquel (Welch) and Rita (Hayworth), is a dynamic talent that is not to be missed! The look, the voice, the style belong to yet another R: Rachel (York): one helluva great entertainer and... once again a top contender for Female Cabaret Artist of 2009.


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