BWW Review: GRETCHEN REINHAGEN TAKE IT WITH ME at Pangea
Last month, Gretchen Reinhagen kicked off her monthly residency at Pangea, downtown's destination for alt-cabaret. Reinhagen thrilled the audience with her big voice, soulful music-making, and uproarious comic observations on everything from the Paleo Diet, public transportation, and fraught relationship with the health care industry. On Tuesday, October 15, she returns to Pangea to deliver another evening's entertainment that's sure to tug at the heartstrings and bust guts each in equal measure.
Reinhagen is a "triple crown" cabaret singer, having won a Nightlife Award, Bistro Award, and MAC award for Special Kaye: A Tribute to the Incomparable Kaye Ballard. Her debut album garnered a cover story in Cabaret Scenes magazine where critic John Hoglund noted, "The lady is uniquely talented... with a natural exuberance for life that is contagious," and he's right. Reinhagen's exuberant personality and music-making is well worth catching.
The monthly engagement comes on the heels of her sold-out CD release show, Take It With Me, at the Laurie Beechman. More than an encore, this series features a rotation of special guests and a showcase for Reinhagen's brilliant comedic monologues. "The hope," says Reinhagen, "is that this new platform gives us an opportunity to share music from the album while also being able to feature different artists each month."
Mardie Millit, of the duo Michael and Mardie joined Reinhagen for her kick off with some musical comedy numbers from Peter Napolitano and Barry Levitt's LGBT-themed musical That Way. Millit and Reinhagen sang the parts of a lesbian couple going through relationship issues. Reinhagen played off Millit to titters of laughter.
On October 15th, Reinhagen is joined by Aaron Morishito of the duo The Lounge-O-Leers to reprise their Ricky Ritzel's Broadway performance as Rosalie and Marco from Carnival! In November, she shares the stage with Karen Mack.
At the kick-off to her residency, Reinhagen served a broiling sensuality in the show's sizzling opener "Good Life" demanding the audience "Tell me there's no turning back now." Reinhagen's musical director - Tracy Stark, who wrote the number - lent her smoky-blue vocals to the mix. She showed off her Blues chops with "Good Thing Blues" (Tracy Stark and Gretchen Reinhagen).
The show's greatest delights came in one of the absolutely most entertaining renditions of "Another Hundred People" (Stephen Sondheim). Reinhagen peppered each verse with humorous and highly relatable anecdotes about travel. She showed off her incredible technical prowess in a tender rendition of "All In Love Is Fair" (Stevie Wonder). Reinhagen took my breath away on this number when she sang into the softer side of her dynamic range.
Take It With Me repeats every third Tuesday of the month with remaining 2019 shows on October 15, November 19th and December 17th at 7PM.