BWW Review: BACK IN MAMA'S ARMS! At Don't Tell Mama - Goldie Dver Proves It's NOT A Comeback… It's A Return
Heigh-Ho Friends & "Family"! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in CABARET to bring you all the T.
Dahlings when Bobby first arrived in our little ol' town of New York, there were a few names in the cabaret world that we heard talked about and who gave us some first-rate entertainment. Two of those names, James Beaman and Goldie Dver, were perennials in clubs and bars and any performance space that was smart enough to book them, and now they have teamed as director and star to bring Dver back to performing after a decade's absence. There were some difficult life circumstances that took Ms. Dver away from her night club singing career for so long. You can read all about them in my boss Stephen Mosher's interview with Goldie: Goldie Dver Is Reborn with BACK IN MAMA'S ARMS, and though Bobby only really likes to bring the rainbows, the raindrop points are: a bout with cancer and being widowed. In her show, Dver was very upfront about the death of her husband of 41 years, songwriter Paul Dver, who passed a year ago. So this show that Goldie performed first at Mama's about a month ago was a return to performing, a return to life, a return to La Goldie's authentic self; and return she does my dears.
Looking VERY much the same as she did 10 years ago, the pretty, petite powerhouse in a fitted lacey blue cocktail number chose to take the stage in the blackout with her slick combo of 3 Musicians: Musical Director Bill Zeffiro, Bassist Vince Fay (at this performance) and Drummer Grant MacAvoy, rather than the traditional 5 yard cabaret dash from the back of Mama's Original Room to the stage.
When her first pin spot hit Dver she lit up and opened up with a power medley of SELF PORTRAIT (Edward Kleban), TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY ... (Maltby & Shire), and IT'S TODAY (Jerry Herman), seemingly telling the audience that this was her new beginning. As stated in her BWW Interview, this new beginning was fostered by Beaman, a dear friend and cabaret colleague of Goldie's with whom she had worked on stage and behind Bendel's make-up counter (the obligatory real-world paycheck that almost every performer must earn.) Beaman keeps it all simple and straightforward; a lady and her music with the story she has to tell, one that omits any mention of cancer (major downer) and that deals in loving, touching and funny ways with Dver's rom-com style love story (she hated Paul at first) and his sudden death a year ago. Beaman has essentially picked her up, dusted her off and... well, you know the rest; and shaking the dust off her chops, Dver delivers with range, power, pathos, and real strength. A strength that allowed her to present a program with 2 songs penned by Paul Dver. The gorgeous SOMEONE and ONE AGAIN are fitting tributes to Mr. & Mrs. Dver as they speak to the need to become one whole person in the wake of the ultimate sadness. This show brings us in on Dver's putting her pieces back together after 41 years of being 2.
But don't get Bobby wrong my pets, this is a show and Goldie Dver knows how to put on a show. She brings music and laughter throughout, she never strays into the Land of Maudlin and her vocal stylings move fairly easily from powerful belt to lilting upper range notes that floated lightly over our heads. If at times she sacrifices the purity of a note here and there, or lets her voice fry and growl a bit in that vocal break between head and chest voices, it is a performing pro's choice to make it about the emotion and not about singing pretty. There was a moment when Goldie lost her words and she just enjoyed swaying to the music and waiting for it all to come back to her (with a little help from Zeffiro - wink). This being only her 3rd or 4th performance after so long away, some rough spots were to be expected, but "Dvina Dver" still knows how to roll with it and we know she will polish this diamond to a high sparkle, and as she settles in, the realness that she is developing in her patter and songs will get more real.
At a trim 70 minutes, and with Goldie's MAC Award-winning, wit, charm, and jazzy song stylings this one is well worth the trip to Don't Tell Mama's for her next 2 shows:
Saturday 9/21 - 8PM - Click Here To Book
Saturday 10/5 - 8PM - Click Here To Book
Wrapping her show with a gentle and heartfelt rendition of the Butler & Molinary night club staple, HERE'S TO LIFE, Goldie Dver makes it known she has returned to the stage and intends to stay. When it's all said and sung, BACK IN MAMA'S ARMS proves that a little hiatus cannot tarnish pure Gold(ie).
Bobby gives this one 4 Rainbows out of 5.