Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
Leanne Borghesi returned to Feinstein's at the Hotel Nikko for a third time on August 3rd. She is a fantastic singer, reminiscent of Francis Faye and Ethel Merman. She can belt out a tune with the best of the popular singers. Ms. Borghesi's interpretations are idiosyncratic and her gestures are grand. She is a human dynamo.
Her show was called What Is This Swing Called Love and she held the sold-out audience spellbound for 90 minutes. Under the direction of Nicholas Minas, with the musical direction of Ross Gualco, this glitzy chanteuse seduced me into her "love lounge" for an intimate evening of snazz and jazz featuring the Roger Glenn trio (Ross Gualco on piano, Roger Glenn on woodwinds, and Ed Margolin on drums) and Amanda Wu on bass. It was a rollicking musical evening on the rollercoaster of L-O-V-E.
The artist sounded like Carmen Miranda introducing the first two songs, "Meglio Stasera" and Hernando's Hideaway" (from The Pajama Game). She performed an eclectic group of 21 songs ranging from Broadway showtunes like "Old Devil Moon" from Finian's Rainbow and "Luck Be a Lady" from Guys and Dolls. She was harmoniously energizing on these songs as well as Cole Porter's "Night and Day" in a bossa nova style. She repeated with her dynamic vocal in bossa nova style "The Shadow of Your Smile" and was down and dirty singing "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Minnie the Moocher," and "I Put a Spell on You." Roger Glenn on piccolo was under the spell. She did a sublime reading of "Old Black Magic" and "Do It Again."
For an encore, Leanne did "What Is This Thing Called Love" which she sang with thematic resonance and she exited the room with "Hit The Road Jack."
Bottom Line: I said the before and I'll say it again. Leanne Borghesi gave an opulent performance, wild and magnificent with fantastic abandonment. I agree with my friend from "Cabaret Scenes," Steve Murray: "The sold-out crowd, hungry for a Borghesi feast, ate her up."
Leanne Borghesi will appear at The Triad in New York City on November 3, 6, 9 and 11 with Dominatrix Housewife on Fire, which I reviewed last year. You can see who's coming up at Feinstein's at the Hotel Nikko at www.feinsteinsatthenikko.com.