Sterling's Welcomes The Peggy Judy Show
On Sunday July 18, The Peggy Judy Show played Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's with Special Guest Star Perry Lambert. Peggy Judy is deliciously played by comic actress/singer Molly Brandenburg. Judy is a sendup of all those 60s lounge act singers who dreamed of making it big but somehow never made it past the Barstow or Fresno lounge. Remember Loretta Haggers from Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, who longed to be a country-western singing superstar, but never left the Capri Lounge Bowling Alley? Well think a wannabe Peggy Lee instead, and you've got Miss Peggy Judy. Dressed in leopard cape, leopard gloves and boa over a slinky black dress and wearing a pouffy blonde wig and heavy light blue eye makeup, Judy sings a song, recounts a sad story, sings some more, tells another anecdote and without even trying, serendipitously dazzles. One story was about her 4th, no 3rd husband- she couldn't quite make up her mind - Rudy Judy, whose Pontiac broke down in the desert one night on the way to a local gig. To boot, Rudy told Peggy he no longer loved her - and to top it all, it was Christmas Eve. But she still never gave up hope of replacing Bette Midler in Vegas one day, despite rumors of Cher's imminent takeover. Peggy Judy's laid-back, rather blase delivery made it all sound heartbreakingly hilarious, even the referral to her recent rehab provoked more laughs than sighs.
Opening the act was Perry Lambert, a delightful impressionist, singer, comic who somehow, after telling a few opening jokes, magically squeezed Bugs Bunny, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Archie Bunker, Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Jackie Gleason, Cary Grant and Elvis into singing parts of the song "Unforgettable", mader famous once more when Natalie Cole decided to re-release it as a duet with her dad Nat King Cole. This was a super number for Lambert's outstanding skill. He later returned to do a raffle and banter with the audience and to join Peggy Judy in a Sonny & Cher duet of "I've Got You Babe".
Highlights of Judy's act included some terrific 60s hits from Peggy Lee like "Fever", Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man" appropriately changed to "Solitary Woman", "Something Cool", "Route 66", and her rousing opener of "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from Gypsy. Brandenburg's lovely voice has quite the range and she also managed to crank out, between jokes and stories a beautiful "My Funny Valentine", "Crazy", "I'm a Woman" and "A Song For You". The Cher medley was a treat, consisting of "The Beat Goes On", "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves", "The Way of Love", "Half Breed" and even the later released hit "Turn Back Time", which has since become a Cher classic. The beat went on with Lambert and Judy smashingly dueting the ever-popular "I've Got You Babe".
Brandeburg is a very funny lady with a great voice and keeps a consistently dazed, sort of drugged-out, star-wannabe style throughout, never breaking character for a second. She was divinely backed by accompanist Ron Snyder on piano and a combo of other great musicians: Al Johnson, Tim Emmons and Jack LeCompte.
This was a decidedly different act for Sterling's, used to presenting Broadway and pop style singers in concert - and a truly delightful and refreshing change of pace. Brandeburg's act is great fun to watch, especially if you lived through the 60s and ever chilled out in a lounge or two, and the talented Perry Lambert was an extra special treat. Don't miss them the next time they come this way, if they do manage to find their way west once again from the Barstow circuit.
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