Cabaret Review: SURVIVING CABARET (Sharon McNight at Green Room 42 in NYC)

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by Paulanne Simmons on April 14, 2023

in Concerts / Events,Theater-New York


When a songstress entitles her show Surviving Cabaret, one can expect a lot of sad ballads and weepy blues. Not so with Sharon McNight’s new show at Green Room 42.

Yes, there is a bit of nostalgia. McNight opens with Janis Ian’s “I’m Standing Here,” which features lyrics proclaiming, See these lines on my face?/They’re a map of where I’ve been. She continues with Al Stillman and Robert Allen’s “Meantime” with a similar theme:’Cause it’s the meantime, meantime/All they gave me is this in-between time/For my lovin‘ and my livin/I gotta do it in the time I’m given.

But McNight also does a terrific Mae West impersonation with “Everybody’s Girl” from Kander & Ebb’s Steel Pier and demonstrates her longtime love of country music with a medley of Hank Williams songs.

There are even some truly funny numbers, like Mary Liz McNamara’s “Bacon,” which asks us to become vegetarians while drooling over the tasty tidbits of the title. McNight’s delivery can make more than a few people rush out for a BLT after the lights dim.

The show’s pièce de résistance is McNight’s reenactment of a pivotal scene from The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy lands in Munchkinland having accidentally killing the Wicked Witch of the East. Before starting, McNight says, “If I don’t die by the end of this, it will be a miracle. It goes on forever.” Fortunately, she doesn’t die, and the scene goes on just long enough. Her take is deliciously devilish.

After ending on a sentimental note with George and Ira Gershwin’s “The Man I Love,” McNight comes back for her first encore with a rousing audience singalong of Nan O’Byrne’s “Your Sweet and Shiny Eyes.” But her second encore and very last song is one of her personal favorites, Billy Joel’s “I’ve Loved These Days.”

McNight says she’s lost 35 pounds and two inches. She might appear diminutive onstage were it not for her commanding presence. She is indeed a mighty force. McNight has known and worked with many of theater and cabaret’s most formidable figures, including a cockroach hanging out where a mic should be and insects trying to fly into her mouth in Marin County.

With her deep, raw voice, McNight can evoke a wide range of emotions. Her performance is about more than just surviving cabaret. It’s about celebrating life.

Sharon McNight
Surviving Cabaret: 40 Years of Storied Songs
April 13th and 15th at 7 pm
The Green Room 42, 570 10th Avenue at 42nd St
for tickets, visit Green Room 42

for more info, visit Sharon McNight

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