BWW Review: SING HAPPY! - Ann LeSchander Certainly Does & Well
SING HAPPY!/conceived by Ann LeSchander/musical direction by Michael Farrell/The Gardenia/April 20/17
SING HAPPY!, a delightful cabaret showcase of Ann LeSchander's vocal chops and comic talents backed by wonderful musicians who know when to take focus and when to lay back. Kudos to The Gardenia's sound system that allows each instrument to be heard so distinctly as individual instruments, then blend so wonderfully with Ann's vocals.
SING HAPPY! features Ann's charming story of various loves of her life - her father, her husband, her daughter and her music. Ann keeps her patter in between songs, light, funny and relatable. Ann's relaxed ease on stage sells her selections, complementing her solid vocals. Her legit musical theatre voice receives a nice workout in "Mr. Snow" from Rogers & Hammerstein's CAROUSEL. Her slowed down, half-timed tempo version of their STATE FAIR's "It Might As Well Be Spring" - simply exquisite with Jack LeCompte's drums, Larry Steen's bass and Michael Farrell's piano, individually and jointly playing off each other and her. Certainly one of the best versions I've heard of this classic. Ann and her musicians nail their arrangement, again individually and collectively, of Charles Strouse and Lee Adams "You've Got Possibilities" from IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE, IT'S SUPERMAN.
Ann brought the love of her life, her husband Dan Raziel and his electric guitar up on stage to join her in a no-frills ballad of Randy Newman's "That'll Do." Very nice!
Dan remained on stage for Willie Nelson's "I Gotta Get Drunk" with all four musicians each getting their honky-tonking solo in the spotlight.
Besides Ann's melodious pipes and comic timing, Ann possesses the talent of mastering the fast-talking, tongue-twisting lyrics of her opener Milton Delugg and Willie Stein's "Orange Colored Sky," and also, in "Invention" by Scott Burkell and Paul Loesel. I would lay odds that Ann's version of Sondheim's "Not Getting Married Today" from COMPANY would rival the speed of the late and great Madeline Kahn's.
Log onto her site www.annleschandercombo.com to catch her next performance. You'll be glad you did!