Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

Gershwin and Friends
Society Cabaret
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Richard's reviews of Dog Sees God, Battlefield, Guards at the Taj and No, No, Nanette

The accomplished and versatile Bay Area singer Annemarie Ballinger appeared at the Society Cabaret in the Hotel Rex for one night only last week. She has had many years of training and experience in the worlds of musical theatre, opera and cabaret. This talented artist has appeared many times at the Society Cabaret. This show was entitled Gershwin and Friends.

Annemarie Ballinger featured Gershwin with a sprinkling of Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Fats Waller, Cole Porter, and Rodgers & Hart. She opened the show with Gershwin's upbeat "Somebody Loves Me" moving smoothly into "'S Wonderful" then "Clap Yo' Hands" with her vibrant voice. Her vocal chops reminded me of Doris Day with a mix of Marni Nixon. The gifted artist did 21 songs in all, adding important facts about the life of George Gershwin.

George Gershwin always had engaging composer friends at his apartment. Annemarie sang Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" and "Let's Misbehave," Irvin Berlin's "Let Yourself Go," Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose," and Rodgers & Hart's "Lover" and "To Keep My Love Alive," all with pitch perfect resonance. She stunningly showed her operatic voice in "I Loves You Porgy" and "Summertime."

Ken Muir on piano, Chuck Bennett on bass, and Jim Zimmerman on drums gave the singer smooth accompaniment.

Annemarie Ballinger's Gershwin and Friends appeared at Society Cabaret on May 6, 2017, in the Hotel Rex. For a list of their future shows, visit