Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Review: Artemesia Le Fay Brings us a Visitation From GHOSTS OF WEIMAR PAST

From The Roaring '20s To The New Roaring '20s, These Weimar Ghosts Haunt Us Deliciously

BWW Review: Artemesia Le Fay Brings us a Visitation From GHOSTS OF WEIMAR PAST

Heigh-Ho Friends & "Family"! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in CABARET to bring you all the T...

...And that T this week was an extra one in the German performance style known as Weimar Kabarett; a speci-ality of Artemisia LeFay who conjured up her GHOSTS OF WEIMAR PAST at Don't Tell Mama on Saturday night. Now, for those of my little millenialambs who may not know, once upon a history lesson {snore} in Germany between the wars, the rule of the day was known as the Weimar Republic and, much like the roaring 20s in the good ol' USofA, there was a great deal of subversive exploration going on especially in the entertainment world of Kabaretts, night clubs, and other music hot spots; only MUCH more subversive, and about a thousand times more queer than anything puritanical Americans could ever come up with. Also, Germans would NEVER have allowed alcohol to become illegal. Fast forward to now(ish) and we have Ms. Lefay holding forth in DTM's Original Room and taking her nearly packed house back in time with the music of the likes of Friedrich Hollaender and his muse Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Weil, and his muse Lotte Lenya, and more muses and composers than you can shake a Fleck riding crop at. Like many of the singers from the best of the Weimar era, Ms. Lefay is classically trained with a fine rich mezzo that she imploys with a purity of sound true to her training... at times; and like the women of her favorite era, the purity of Lefay's mezzo power will suddenly take a sharp left turn breaking away from making beautiful sounds in order to be realistic in a very underground way; exploring the heights and depths of what her very female voice can do.

In a smart opening move, her 2 musicians began the show with an instrumental rendition ofBWW Review: Artemesia Le Fay Brings us a Visitation From GHOSTS OF WEIMAR PAST Mischa Spoliansky's "Morphium" ("Morphine"). Setting the necessary smoky, boozy mood, pianist, Renee Guerrero's landing on the keys a touch heavily in the intoxicatingly intoxicated style of the period mixing with violist, Alexia del Giudice's wonderfully legato bowing; with just the right touch here and there of languid slides up and down between notes, combine to give the ear a feel of planned imperfection. An interpretation that musically states, "Vell, you are here und ve are playing, but ve don't care much." As the song drew to a close, we must confess to making a note in our little book and, upon looking up, suddenly seeing LeFay in all her glory and gorgeous self-stitched gown center stage launching into another Spoliansky number "Das Lilalied" ("The Lavender Song"). It is important to note my dearlings that, when Weimar is performed well, the fact that songs are in German (and in one Weill case, French) simply does not matter. Listening to La LeFay's trumpet-like voice cutting the dark like Mack's knife brings the song, its lyrics, and its message to you over the Berlin wall of a language barrier. Not all Lady Artemisia's selections are in their mother tongue, but enough of them are to give you a true sense of period, intention, and Weimar tone. And the performances... Oh, my DARLINGS! The performances of each song, evoking each shadow, each sharp angle of the period, reaching through the room as the young lady morphs her vocal production and intonations to fit each dramatic journey the audience must take with her. If we must add a tiny drop of rain to our rainbow review here, it is to say that the young lady's cute, halting, sometimes befuddled, contemporary in tone, spoken patter blunts the spike heel in your face confidence that is the Weimar musical style. While her personality is darling and infectious, darling is not the Weimar vay... dahlinks. In the music department, however, she is spot on, sometimes employing the harsh rapid-fire vibrato popularized by Lenya and her 3 BWW Review: Artemesia Le Fay Brings us a Visitation From GHOSTS OF WEIMAR PAST Penny colleagues on Pirate Jenny and other times smoothing it out to no vibrato at all. With her belting chest voice, LeFay goes from brash to lilting and back again before employing her legit training as a mezzo-soprano on Hollaender's Eine Kleine Sehnsucht ("A Bit Of Yearning") filling the room with operatic beauty juxtaposed to Hollaender's darker tones in a minor key originally written for the "less legitimate" Dietrich. Trust me lambkins Marlene wished she had these notes. Ultimately, Artemisia LeFay gives her audience a look back at an era that began almost precisely 100 years ago in the wake of a global pandemic, making sure her crowd can hear the roar of the 1920s and be left to hope that the 2020s will adopt its own sense of freedom of expression and subversive political climate, post-pandemic. That is a page in history that can bear repeating and as for the art of Artemisia... the old-world LGBTQ anthems and Kabarett classics leave you wanting more Weimar, less Fascism, and definitely more LeFay.

As we all welcome live performance back into New York City this show from the past filled with underground LGBT support, and kabarett classics, reveals a time when we partied to forget the world outside and since Artemisia LeFay's GHOSTS OF WEIMAR PAST does just that, we give this show a solid...

4 1/2 Rainbows Out Of 5

Artemisia LeFay will return to the Original Room of Don't Tell Mama on June 27. Get your tickets now as there were VERY few empty seats at Saturday's party. To get more info and reserve your tickets, click: HERE

  • NOTE: Don't Tell Mama Bills You For Your Tickets And Your 2 Drink Minimum With Your Table Check At The End Of The Show And Accepts Cash Only As Payment.

Keep up with Artemisia LeFay on her socials...

Check out her Insta: HERE
Look Up Her YouTubes: HERE
And Followe On Ye Olde FaceBooke: HERE

The Lady's Set List For The Evening Included:
"Morphium" ("Morphine") Mischa Spoliansky
"Das Lilalied" ("The Lavender Song") Mischa Spoliansky
"Peter, Peter, Komm Zu Mir Zurück" ("Peter, Peter, Come to Me Right Now") Friedrich Hollænder
"Pirate Jenny" Kurt Weill
"Illusions" Friedrich Hollaender
"Je Ne T'Aime Pas" ("I Do Not Love You") Kurt Weill
"Ich Weiß Nicht Zu Wem Ich Gehöre" ("I Know Not To Whom I Belong") Friedrich Hollaender
"Eine Kleine Sehnsucht" ("A Bit Of Yearning") Friedrich Hollaender
"I Don't Care Much" John Kander
"Alles Schwindel" ("It's All A Swindle") Mischa Spoliansky
"Falling In Love Again" Friedrich Hollaender

Alexia del Giudice- violist
Renee Guerrero- pianist

Photos By Yours Truly, Bobby Patrick


Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles View More Cabaret Stories

From This Author Bobby Patrick