Stephanie Pope, the actress-dancer-singer of Fosse fame, sings songs from her sensual, jazzy new CD, "Now's the Time to Fall in Love," in an engagement at Arci's Place in Manhattan, through Sept. 15.
Pope opened at the Park Avenue boite Sept. 6. Performances of the show, which features American pop standards that were heard in the Bob Fosse musical, Big Deal, in which Pope appeared, play 9 PM Thursdays and 8:30 PM and 11 PM Fridays and Saturdays. "Big Deal was my Broadway debut and working with the legendary Bob Fosse was one of the greatest experiences of my career," Pope said in a statement. "I wanted to pay tribute to him while putting my own stamp on this material."
Pope sings with the Daryl Kojak Quartet, with direction by Lacy Darryl Phillips. The new Jerome Records disc was released in July. On it, Pope documents songs from 1986's Big Deal. The entire score was made up of Depression-era or pre-Depression tunes. On the disc, fresh, swingy, jazzy arrangements (by pianist-producer Daryl Kojak) were applied to such songs as "Happy Days Are Here Again," "Ain't We Got Fun," Pick Yourself Up," "Me and My Shadow" and more. The entire score of Big Deal, a flop that lasted only briefly, was made up of existing songs, which Fosse staged in his singularly dry way — with a sense of humor, sex appeal and those signature isolated movements.
Pope, who starred in Broadway's Fosse, was the understudy for the character of Lilly and danced in the ensemble of Big Deal, the stage musical version of the film, "Big Deal on Madonna Street." It was her first Broadway musical. The show did not have a cast album.
The disc's arrangements are bluesy, jazzy and frisky. Ben Vereen penned the liner notes. Songs include "Ain't He Sweet," "Now's the Time to Fall in Love," "Everybody Loves My Baby," "Charley My Boy," "I'm Just Wild About Harry," "Button Up Your Overcoat," "'Taint What Cha Do," "Just a Gigolo," "Love Is Just Around the Corner," "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries" and "Happy Days Are Here Again." Pope's other Broadway shows include Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Will Rogers Follies, Chicago and Jelly's Last Jam.
Arci's tickets are $30 with a $15 food/drink minimum. Arci's Place is at 450 Park Avenue South. For reservations, please call (212) 532-4370.
— By Kenneth Jones