I wish you had been able to read this review on the date published (June 6th) because you would have had one last chance on that date to see one of the most truly exciting shows that I have seen in many a year! Marissa Mulder will be presenting the final show in this series of "Living Standards" show at THE METROPOLITAN ROOM
(34 West 22nd Street, NYC - 212-206-0440) at 7:00 pm. Marissa told me that I reviewed her NYC cabaret debut show a few years back at DON'T TELL MAMA. I know I liked it, and gave a good review, but quite frankly I don't remember much of it. But this show, which I saw Wednesday night, I shall remember forever! This was not just a "class act", this was a young lady who reminded us all what cabaret is all about!
Marissa Mulder recently won two MAC Awards, for Major Artist and for recording of the Year, both related to her show "Tom ... In His Words," devoted to the songs of Tom Waits, which played last year 'at the MET.' This show, produced and directed by Tom Toce, a veteran theater and cabaret songwriter, was devoted to songs written by living composers and lyricists. Songs created by folks like Francesca Blumenthal, John Bucchino, Craig Carnelia, Julie Gold, and Marcy Heisler & Zina Goldrich, as well as songs from singer-songwriters like Christine Lavin and Anais Mitchell (and one from Tom Waits). Even Randy Newman and Joni Mitchell were included.
If I was a songwriter with a song included on this show's song list, I would indeed be overjoyed to be included and have my song presented so beautifully, so elegantly, so perfectly, as Marissa Mulder. Julie Gold was in the audience and Marissa's performance of "Good Night New York" gave me the shivers! I heard Julie herself sing this song soon after she wrote it, at Eighty Eight's (and we all know how long ago that was). And special note to Francesca Blumenthal: I've heard heard just about every great cabaret singer perform your classic "The Lies of Handsome Men" but never has anyone done quite the performance as Ms Mulder!
The show was entertaining from start to finish, with Marissa and her sometimes "giddy with excitement" musical director Nate Buccieri lending some back-up vocals and joining in s few duets. The electrifying chemistry between singer and musician gave the show a charm and freshness that is not easy to create in the confines of a cabaret show. No histrionics, no overdone emotional drama - just beautiful vocals, faithful to the setting of each song! Marissa captured the uniqueness of each lyric and still gave each song her own special style.
Speaking of vocals, I asked JP (who was in charge of lights and sound) after the show if there had been something new added to the sound system of the club - there was such clarity, such presence, such brightness to the sound of Marissa's voice. His answer: What you heard was just her! No one could improve on that!