Friday, March 07, 2014

Anne Bobby Tells a Story at 54 Below

Was invited to see Anne Bobby's cabaret show Tuesday night at 54 Below, the exquisite performance space in the famed Studio 54. Although she has a long and distinguished career, I was not acquainted with Ms. Bobby until this cellar rendez-vous, so her combination of personal stories and interpretations of many little-known songs had the effect of reading a memoir by someone who isn't famous, which just happens to be my favorite kind of book. The set list included everyone from Marvin Hamlisch and Alan Mencken to Randy Newman and Bruce Springsteen, but the stage was all Anne's, as she weaved the tale of her many lives, starting as a 16-year-old on Broadway, getting hired -- and fired -- from the first show she auditioned for, followed by a string of Broadway, film and television roles. (I may not have this exactly right, but I believe her replacement from the aforementioned sacking, Laura Dean, joined her onstage for a rendition of “Far From Home” from the show "Almost September," with a little help from Frank Vlastnik!) 

She later recounted how she turned down the role of Eponine in "Les Miserables," which would go on to make her replacement, Frances Ruffelle, a Tony winner and a bonafide Broadway star. (The musical she opted for instead, "Smile," was memorable flop.) The show was quaint and strictly New York. But for someone who doesn't thrive on over-the-top theatrical productions but still enjoys a cleverly written song, I was thoroughly charmed.

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