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Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea

The final performance of a revival run of a 2018 show leaves 'em wanting more.

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea

I am currently the only full-time member of the Broadway World Cabaret team, so it is my responsibility to get to as many shows every week as I possibly can. That means that there are shows and artists that, sadly (and kind of frustratingly) don't make it onto my review calendar... unless a trusted source reaches out to me to say, "Don't miss this one." That's what happened recently when Sue Matsuki shot me an email saying just that: Don't miss this one. So I emailed Pangea with a request for a seat at the final performance of Leslee Warren's show ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL on Sunday, and when I left the club I sent Sue Matsuki a text that said, simply (and directly) enough:

"Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

I know that I can be prone toward praise, but I mean this, from the deepest place of my heart: in December when I begin making my list of The Best of 2022, Me Myself & Eye is going to be the first show that I put on that list.

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea This run of shows by Leslee Warren is a revival of a show that she debuted in 2018 that garnered much praise, and 2022 audiences are extremely lucky that the singing actress returned with it because what she has created with her show isn't just exceptional storytelling and astonishing musical entertainment, it is surprisingly (or not-so-surprisingly, depending on a person's own history-informed point of view) resonant in the column of basic human life experience.

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea What Ms. Warren has done here is take her life as a woman in need of ocular assistance and made it into a club act in which all the songs are lyrically relevant in one way or another, in order to take her audience on her own unique journey - and while many club acts start out with that intention, they aren't always successful. Sometimes these autobiographical shows fall flat, sometimes they tend toward the self-indulgent or the precious, and sometimes they smack of group-therapy, and none of these things are what a performing artist wants their audience to be thinking of during their show and on the walk home. Using a perfect mixture of absolute honesty, willing vulnerability, and perfectly crafted humor (Warren's writing and timing are stunningly married), Leslee paints visible and visceral pictures for her audience, rather like a film into which they can get completely lost. Perhaps being nearsighted has given Ms. Warren a special advantage when it comes to creating visions with words, or maybe the lady is just a great storyteller. One suspects it's a mixture of both but, whatever it is she has, it's working for her.

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea In sixty-five minutes Leslee Warren runs the gamut from Broadway to Pop to The Great American Songbook, and never is there a discernible dividing line between the dialogue and song; the entire performance (mind you, the ENTIRE performance) flows as smoothly and seamlessly as when Julie Andrews segues from script into "My Favorite Things." It is truly impressive but not, as one gets to know Warren's style, at all surprising: she breathes this. It flows from her as a stream starting atop a snow-capped mountain. Leslee Warren may have limitations when it comes to her eyesight but she has none when it comes to her storytelling, be it prosaic, poetic, or musical. And there is something else that Leslee Warren has that feeds every moment of Me Myself & Eye: gumption.

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Never has this cabaret devotee ever dared suggest somebody do a Lena Horne show. While artists populate the clubs with tribute shows to Carole King and Sarah Vaughan and Dolly Parton, there has not, yet, been an artist ideally suited to take on Legendary Lena. Until now. And it's not a black thing; it would be almost insultingly simple to look at this light-skinned black singing actress (who shares some SHOW BOAT rhetoric with her audience of which Lena Horne would have approved) and say "Leslee Warren should do a Lena Horne show." But it isn't ambiguous ethnicity that the two women have in common (only). This is a "cool" thing. Whether engaged in the act of singing evening highlights "I'm Beginning To See The Light" and "I Can See Clearly Now," or telling the tales of her childhood with Coke-bottle glasses, her deep and ever-present relationship with her sister, or the quest to get acting work when one is, indeed, ambiguously ethnic, Leslee Warren possesses an unbridled ferocity that comes along only every now and then. Lena Horne had just such a quality, and, like Leslee, Lena was the ultimate in cool. Watching this powerhouse of a performer serve up every emotion, vocally and facially, was a thrill-a-minute ride made only the more powerful each time the music swept her up and carried her into the art of dance, an art that, also, lives with her. Ferocious and thrilling, from start to finish - that's Leslee Warren.

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea

Part of the thrill to her work in Me Myself & Eye is the relationship that Leslee has with her band. Musical director Gregory Toroian spends much of his onstage life with drummer David Silliman and bassist Skip Ward, so the three musicians have a clear understanding of what they do and what they are about - and with Toroian conducting from behind the piano, the trio creates a stellar safety net for Warren. It's a good thing, too, because Leslee has an uncanny understanding of Toroian's jazz treatments. Gregory is a renowned jazz musician, and when he creates an arrangement of a song, that arrangement is intricate and artistic, and something that not every singer might be quite apt to understand. Leslee Warren understands. Her Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea performances of the Toroain-treated "Watch What Happens'' and "Hey Look Me Over" are Herculean yet effortless, and there is genuine heartbreak in the house when Warren serves up the team's unique and uniquely felt "Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine" and a devastating "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (another show highlight). The respect and the relationship is one of the characters in the cabaret play Warren has created, and it shows when Gregory conducts, watching his singer like a benevolent but protective big brother: it brings him such palpable pride to have his arrangements so flawlessly performed - and it shows.

One musical number after another, one bridging monologue after another, Leslee Warren simply takes each audience member by the hand and leads them into her personal story hour, and when they come out on the other side, they are smiling, and they are satisfied. Were the supremely cozy and welcoming room at Pangea conducive to a standing ovation, this writer would have been the first out of his seat on Sunday, and it takes a lot to get me on my feet after a show - it has to be earned, not expected. I am beyond happy that I caught this show before it went away again. It will be fun to see what Leslee Warren comes up with, next - it will, most certainly, be worth catching, too; only, next time, I won't need a recommendation email telling me to catch the show. I'll just be there.

Find other great shows to see on the Pangea website HERE.

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea

Review: Leslee Warren Performs Eye-Opening ME MYSELF & EYE: SONGS FROM A NEARSIGHTED GIRL at Pangea Photos by Stephen Mosher


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From This Author - Stephen Mosher