BWW Reviews: Classy Singer Sandy Bainum Brings Warmth and Sophistication to the Federal with Tribute to Ira Gershwin
When Sandy Bainum first appeared at Sterling's last November to launch her new CD Simply, I referred to her as anything but simple...striking...a tall, statuesque, elegant beauty whose talent comes in spades. Such talent with consistent work can only grow stronger, and such is the case most duly noted when Bainum appeared on Sunday June 22 at the Federal with her latest show 'S Wonderful: Sandy Sings Ira Gershwin. She brought miles of class to every tune.
The classically trained coloratura soprano was born to sing "By Strauss" by George and Ira Gershwin, perfect in displaying her colorful range. But, what was most surprising to hear was "Tchaikowsky" from Lady in the Dark by Kurt Weill and Ira! After all, only the likes of Danny Kaye, who sang it originally, can keep up with the frenetic pace of this one...wrong! Sandy Bainum pulled it off with finesse and bravura. She has a warm sense of humor which really engages her audience every step of the way. For example, when she sang " 'S Wonderful" she hissed that 'S in a slow, sexy, seductive way that put every male in the crowd squirming on the edge of his seat. To entice even more, Bainum left the stage, made her way into the audience and teased and tantalized many men with hugs and smooches including director Bruce Kimmel and composer Richard B. Sherman. Fun, fun, fun! The lady is one playful seductress. Coming in at 65 minutes the show was superbly directed by Kimmel and had a fantastic band/combo led by Bainum's long-time musical director par excellence Emmy-winner Lanny Meyers.
One major point that Bainum made at the top of her show is that Ira Gershwin's lyrics have palpable emotions built in that she and everyone else can relate to...and that Ira not only wrote with his brother George but with many, many other composers such as Burton Lane, Kurt Weill, Harold Arlen, and Jerome Kern, all of whose songs she incorporated. Ira wasn't called prolific for nothing!
Other highlights of the evening included: the lovely ballads "How Long Has This Been Going On" and "Long Ago and Far Away", the catchy "Bidin' My Time", and of course the ever-memorable last collaboration of George and Ira: "They Can't Take That Away From Me". Bainum also showed finely orchestrated dramatic range with "The Man That Got Away". On a curious note, Ira Gerhswin listed an Arthur Francis as the music composer of several compositions - for which he actually wrote both music and lyrics - such as "Oh Me Oh My Oh You" and "I Came Here I Saw You" two delightful patter songs that showed his range and once again the lighter comedic talents of Miss Bainum.
Clever and witty Ira Gershwin has never been served better. Sophisticated Sandy Bainum is a wonderful entertainer with an engaging voice and personality, who can just about do it all. Don't miss her when she performs on either coast!