CABARET GEMS: Two of cabaret's leading ladies, Karen Akers and Andrea Marcovicci, both have new recordings on the Cabaret Records label.
Coinciding with her October Rainbow & Stars engagement is the release of Karen Akers's ("Nine", "Grand Hotel") fifth solo work, "Under Paris Skies," recorded entirely in French. Akers gets a chance to wrap her rich, emotional contralto around such classics as "Mon Dieu," "La Vie En Rose" and a staple of her performances, "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien." Akers has always seemed at home singing in her flawless French, and on this recording she brings each song to life.
For the past five years Andrea Marcovicci ("Any Given Day") has performed to sell-out crowds in the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, where she will return October 24 through New Year's Eve.
Marcovicci revels in the romanticism of the past, bringing fresh and moving interpretations to classic songs; however, on her latest release she spins her magic on songs by contemporary composers, including works by John Bocchino, Craig Carnelia and Maury Yeston, who provides the title tune of the recording, "New Words."
SOUND BYTES: Due out at the end of next month on the Phillips Records label is the much-awaited cast recording of the stage version of "Victor/Victoria" starring Julie Andrews. . . Jon Secada, currently starring as Danny Zuko in the "Grease!" revival, has released a new CD all in Spanish. "Amor" is available from EMI Records. . . A wonderful new voice to the cabaret scene is Lee Lessack, who will perform at Eighty Eight's on Wednesdays throughout October. His debut solo album (LML Music) shows Lessack to be a highly skilled song interpreter--just listen to his heartfelt rendition of Mercer and Arlen's "Out of This World."
Stage Credits: "1776"; "Pippin"; "Promises, Promises"; "Cats"; "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"; "Song & Dance"; "Carrie"; and currently "Sunset Boulevard."
"The London Concert", Betty Buckley's newest album, proves that her dynamic voice always deserves a 65-piece orchestra to let it show off all its wonderfully diverse components: light and ethereal as well as big and strong, emotional, rich and clear.
Recorded during Buckley's run in the London production of "Sunset Boulevard," the live concert features some new additions to her repertoire (Sondheim's "Marry Me a Little" and "Finishing the Hat") as well as some old favorites ("Meadowlark," "Memory"). The Tony-winning actress shines on two Kurt Weill songs: "Pirate Jenny" from "The Threepenny Opera" and an unequaled, devastating rendition of Happy End's "Surabaya Johnny." Buckley pulls out all the stops on Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim's "Rose's Turn" from "Gypsy" and finally gets to record "Over You," which she sang in the film "Tender Mercies." Other highlights: a rambunctious "Old Friends" and the Norma Desmond delight: "With One Look." Backed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and the BBC Big Band, "The London Concert" is available on Sterling Records.
-- By Louis Botto