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Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama

Rock and Roll is in cabaret to stay, especially with young, edgy artists like Alexis Molnar.

Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama

Thank goodness for Sidney Myer. Sidney Myer has been in the business of cabaret for some time, even before he was working in the business of cabaret. He has seen it all and he has done it all, and for many years Sidney Myer has been nurturing talent as the booking manager of Don't Tell Mama, for years, all by himself but, of late, alongside Tanya Moberly. Sidney takes great care with the booking of the acts for the Hell's Kitchen nightclub, making sure he meets with the artists of potential shows to discuss with them (in rather famous meetings) the details about their show, and who they are as an artist. Because of this, Sidney Myer is always aware of what is happening in the world of cabaret today. Sidney Myer is aware not only of the evolution of the art form but of the importance of that evolution. It is that awareness and his incomparable artistic vision that leads Sidney Myer to book exciting new acts like Alexis Molnar SINGS THE Fiona Apple SONGBOOK.

It is also what leads Sidney to send this writer emails, alerting him when he is about to miss an act that is worthy of attention.

When I get an email directly from Sidney Myer telling me about an artist I should see, I take it as gospel and reserve a press seat. He has never steered me wrong, I have never regretted his guidance. I was, though, unprepared for an entire evening of Fiona Apple, whose musical catalog has eluded me, lo, these many years. Completely unfamiliar with the famous rocker's canon and short on research time, I had to take in Ms. Molnar's show as a tourist visiting Fiona-Land from Minnelli-Ville, and it was an eye-opening, eyebrow-raising experience, all thanks to Sidney Myer.

Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama

Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Alexis Molnar's Fiona Apple show is not a concert. Ms. Molnar's Fiona Apple show is almost not even a cabaret show, for what Alexis Molnar has created here is a piece of theater. With her director, Max Friedman, Alexis Molnar has taken compositions dating as far back as 1996 and as recently as 2012 and arranged them into a song cycle that tells a story into which the singing actress invests more of her emotional and artistic energies than some people invest in their own lives. With her deceptively petite stature and her surprisingly powerful voice, Ms. Molnar goes beyond the acting limits one usually sees in a cabaret room, all in the name of telling her story. There is some question as to what that story is, at least for this writer, but it didn't matter because Alexis Molnar is compelling AF and theatrical as hell, and theater, especially compelling theater, transcends language barriers. And even though Fiona Apple's lyrics were written in English, last night there were language barriers between myself and the material, just like there were language barriers between me and every opera I've ever seen or theater I've seen in countries in which I was not language-fluent. Heck, there were language barriers between me and the cast of American Idiot on Broadway. It isn't all about the words and the sentences when it comes to communication, and I simply do not speak Fiona Apple. Again: it didn't matter.

Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama

Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama It didn't matter because Ms. Molnar's is a piece of cabaret theater for young people and people who do speak Fiona Apple, and The Original Room at Don't Tell Mama was practically overflowing with those people last night, people who screamed and cheered, who couldn't get enough of Molnar, and who were one hundred percent invested in her story. This is a story and a piece of theater that Ms. Molnar and Mr. Friedman (whose credit reads "Conceived and directed by...") worked on so that it would fit her aesthetic and her artistic goals, which it does. Without any dialog at all, Molnar moves swiftly and smoothly from song to song, acting as actor, singer, rock star, storyteller, and tour guide, and it falls to the audience to keep up or to just blindly take the ride, picking up what can be comprehended along the way. Maybe it isn't important to understand the lyrics or the story being told, maybe it isn't important to be on the same journey as the rest of the audience. Maybe all that's important is for Alexis Molnar to know what story she's telling; she certainly held my attention for all of the hour-long performance, and rapt attention, too. This is the kind of performer destined to become a star, and that kind of magnetism (along with her kind of talent) is enough to get anyone on board, and if one considers this avant-garde cabaret show in 2021 and then thinks about what Dietrich was doing as a Kabarett artist in Berlin in the nineteen twenties, why, it's just possible that Alexis Molnar is today's Marlene Dietrich. That thought alone is enough to make me want to see her next show. And the one after that. And the one after that.

I may not be fluent in Fiona Apple, but I speak Alexis Molnar, and it is this writer's full intention to become fluent in the language of her artistry because that promises to be a fascinating ride well worth taking.

Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama

Alexis Molnar SINGS THE Fiona Apple SONGBOOK has concluded its current run at Don't Tell Mama but on August 11 Ms. Molnar returns to DTM with FETCH THE BOLT CUTTERS. For information and tickets visit the Don't Tell Mama website HERE.

Visit the Alexis Molnar website HERE

Alexis Molnar Sings The Fiona Apple Songbook

Conceived & Directed by Max Friedman
Musical Direction & Arrangements by Madeline Smith

with Jeremy Yaddaw on Drums
Sarah Favinger on Bass
and Ethan Pakchar on Guitar

Music & Lyrics by Fiona Apple

Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama

Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama

Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Review: ALEXIS MOLNAR SINGS THE FIONA APPLE SONGBOOK Transcends Barriers at Don't Tell Mama Photos by Stephen Mosher


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From This Author - Stephen Mosher