Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco

Lillias White
Bay Area Cabaret

Also see Richard's review of Annie and A Little Night Music

The Bay Area Cabaret's season came to a close recently with the dynamic Lillias White taking center stage at the beautiful Venetian Room in the Hotel Fairmont. The "Triple Crown Winner" (Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award) gave a rocking, terrific performance with Billy Stritch accompanying on piano and doing a little singing himself. Stephen Holden of the New York Times described Lillias White best: "What sets her above, and apart from, most Broadway pop-blues shouters is her ruthless honesty and self-awareness...." She can hold a note longer than many artists, like Carmen McRae. Her voice is a combination of Billie Holiday, Sara Vaughn, and Dinah Washington. She broke the fourth wall as she walked around the stage looking straight into the audience's faces. It was a night to remember.

Ms. White opened the show with "Something's Coming" from West Side Story, segueing into "It's Today" from Mame. She rocked the house with her rendition of "The Oldest Profession" from The Life, the show for which she won the Tony. She did a daunting rendition of two songs from Peter Pan, "I've Gotta Crow" and "Never Never Land." Stirring showtunes like "Don't Rain on My Parade," "Some People," "If He Walked into My Life," and "Before the Parade Passes By" showed off her vocal prowess. She was down and dirty singing the Big Maybelle blues classic "I'm Getting 'Long Alright" and Ann Hampton Callaway's "How Can You Be Gone?"

Billy Stritch got into the act singing a duet with the artist, a lively rendition of "Little Me." He then came into his own with pitch perfect vocal chops singing "It Amazes Me."

Lillias White's encore with her magic vocal competency was "I Am Changing" from Dreamgirls.

Bay Area Cabaret will be announcing their upcoming 2015-16 season soon.

- Richard Connema

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