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BWW Review: DAWN DEROW at The West Bank Cafe

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Dawn Derow Brings Passion to The West Bank Cafe

BWW Review: DAWN DEROW at The West Bank Cafe

One of the joys of writing at this precise moment in time is that I'm often called on to see a performer who is doing their first gig after being off for 14 months due to Covid-19. I enjoy these performances because they are crackling with nervous energy and the sheer passion for singing. Enter Dawn Derow, who I had the good fortune to see tonight at The West Bank Cafe as part of their new "Dinner Music" series. This is not a show. It is, quite literally, music during dinner. But the music was beautifully sung, charmingly presented, and wisely chosen.

Dawn Derow is a very versatile singer/actress. The set I saw was a very eclectic mix of favorite golden-age Broadway standards, newer Broadway sounds, pop songs, and even a touch of the operatic. Songs as divergent as "Another Life" from Jason Robert Brown's The Bridges of Madison County and Harold Arlen and Truman Capote's " I Never Has Seen Snow" from House of Flowers. Ms. Derow has a voice that is warm and as comforting as an old friend. She is capable of soprano arias and smokey torch songs and navigates both equally well. I was particularly impressed by her bossa nova-tinged version of George Benson's "This Masquerade," and her "Sweet Dreams," in which she managed to evoke Patsy Cline without imitating her.

She is backed up on the piano by Ian Herman, who is not only a sensitive musical director but a good foil. The chemistry he has with Ms. Derow is appealingly casual and funny. The two of them didn't ignore the ambulances and firetrucks that occasionally interrupted through the windows that open onto 42nd Street. They worked them into the act as smoothly as Steve and Eydie.

And speaking of Eydie, this Sunday, Dawn Derow will premier her new show, The Gypsy in My Soul, at Birdland. It pays tribute to the art and carer of the legendary Eydie Gormé. The show was scheduled to open in March 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic. Ms. Derow sang several numbers from the show in her set tonight and it promises to be a thrilling fusion of two very talented women.

The West Bank Cafe should be congratulated for giving these exciting musical artists such a lovely space in which to create. Not only is the entertainment top-notch, but the food is also delicious. If you are looking for a new hang-out, I recommend it highly.

For more information on Dawn Derow, go to her website, dawnderow.com. For tickets to The Gypsy In My Soul, go to Linktr.ee/DawnDerow. The West Bank Cafe provides Dinner Music Wednesday-Sunday evenings from 7-9 PM. For reservations, go to westbankcafe.com.


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