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Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42

A star is born after Playbill contest winner takes her solo show bow.

Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42

I remember the first time I saw Kristin Chenoweth. She was doing the play Steel Pier on Broadway and, as the play continued throughout the evening, I watched her, I read about her in the program bio, and I committed her name to my memory. That was twenty-four years ago.

In twenty-four years, I will be able to say that I remember the first time I saw Sally Shaw.

Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Ms. Shaw, a winner in the 2021 Playbill's Search for a Star contest, presented her solo show debut at The Green Room 42 last night and it is extremely clear that this is a talent and a woman with which to reckon. Seldom has this writer seen a solo show debut this polished, this professional, this ready to be picked up and plunked down onto the most prestigious cabaret and concert stages of the world. In a season that has already given rise to some inarguably impressive solo show debuts, Sally Shaw has, with last night's outing, proven herself to be special.

Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 BOTH SIDES NOW is Sally Shaw's autobiographical musical cabaret. Now, to be clear, at the ripe age of (maybe, at a guess) 22 years (give or take), there can be little doubt that there is not much biography to tell in the life of one so young. But leave us not forget that Sally Shaw is special, and even with the benign and beautiful talk of parents, siblings, besties, and high school drama productions, Ms. Shaw has some thoughts, feelings, and philosophies that she shares with her audience that belie her youth. Even more fascinating are occasions when the singing actress seemingly willed into reality some of her most ardent desires in life - and that is a story that never gets old, and that never ceases to inspire. What is more, Sally Shaw can actually tell the story.

Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Not every person to step up onto a cabaret stage is adept at telling their story. Oh, they write a script, they memorize their script, and they say their script. Sometimes all of this effort amounts to a letter grade floating around C, maybe a B-minus... and that's fine, I guess. It's ok. It'll do. Not Sally Shaw. Ms. Shaw speaks, in her program, of writing this show but there is every chance that what the young artist wrote was an outline of what she wanted to say and when she wanted to say it. Stepping up to the microphone, Shaw spoke so comfortably and seemingly extemporaneously with the audience that it was difficult to tell if she was working from a memorized text, or if she was just winging it. Whatever the answer, Sally's monology was perfect (if a bit voluble, which is easily corrected, as is Shaw's overabundant use of the word "um") - she stood, confident and comfortable, looked into the eyes of her audience, and engaged with them. There was no pretense, no falseness, no grandiosity, simply a woman who had come to "bring you into my part of the story." Never, not once, at any time, did the conversation lag or lack. Never, not once, at any time, did Sally Shaw lose her audience to wandering minds or silent smartphone scrolling. The lady is a natural, born to tell her own story, using the words and music of other artists whose songs she feels tell her story in tandem with her own words.

Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Singing show tunes from Wicked, Children of Eden, and The Last Five Years, Shaw places on display one of the purest singing voices this writer has heard in a long time. Like mere breathing, the sounds slip from her lips and into the air, filled with unadulterated clarity and powerful control, yet with such apparent ease that it is possible to ask oneself if the singer is lip-synching, or if what is being witnessed is simply the Eighth Wonder of the World. With spectacular arrangements by Musical Director Jeff Tyce, Shaw manages to make entirely her own, classic works by Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Bonnie Raitt, while her versions of "Another Life" and "Finishing the Hat" stay unflinchingly true to the original compositions, while allowing Ms. Shaw to assert her own artistic impression on the stories being told. Complete and total honesty reign over the proceedings as Shaw shares much rhetoric about the importance of education and teachers, as she showcases impeccable comic timing, and as she brings down the house with a medley dedicated to one of the greatest sopranos of all time, one in whose footsteps she already appears to be following... or, more appropriately, flying. From start to finish, the hour-long program was one of the greatest cabaret debuts this writer has ever seen, with the only possible feedback being that Sally Shaw should book the club act, immediately, back into the venue for more showings, or any other venue that will help her to bring her artistry to the people.

Find other great shows to see at the Green Room 42 website HERE.

Sally Shaw can be found online HERE.

Sally Shaw gets a five out of five microphones rating for performing her entire show without the use of a lyric sheet, tablet, or music stand.

Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42

Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42

Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42

Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42 Review: Sally Shaw Is Unbelievable in BOTH SIDES NOW at The Green Room 42

Photos by Stephen Mosher


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From This Author - Stephen Mosher