BWW Review: WHEN IT HAPPENS TO YOU: RENEE KATZ SINGS JULE STYNE at Don't Tell Mama
On January 26th, Renee Katz paid tribute to Jule Styne through an evening of intimate, jazzy cabaret at Don't Tell Mama. It was a treat to hear a selection of Styne songs, ranging from very obscure to very popular, sung with Katz's full, clear voice.
Katz has a deep affection for Styne's music. The show is great for anyone who deeply loves Styne or those who have some familiarity but want to learn more. Even if you don't know Styne by name, you've almost definitely heard some of his music before - he penned smash hits like Gypsy and Funny Girl, and some of his songs have become standards even if the shows themselves faded into obscurity ("Just in Time," "The Party's Over" and "Make Someone Happy"). Katz interspersed the songs with bits of history about Styne's life and talked about the impact his music had on her life. She chose a wonderful setlist, pairing classics that any theater fan would know with more obscure picks, such as moving from "Let It Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!" to "Winter Was Warm" from Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.
Katz performed the songs mostly true to the original orchestrations from the musical, but she changed them up on a few songs, including a fun mashup of "Put 'Em in a Box, Tie 'Em with a Ribbon (and Throw 'Em in the Deep Blue Sea)", "I Believe," and "You Mustn't Be Discouraged." John Cook on the piano and Tom Kirchmer on bass provided great backing. The trio had an excellent rapport together. Cook and Katz dueted on a few numbers, including a slow and sultry cover of "The Lady Who Didn't Believe in Love" from The Powers Girl.
Styne never stopped learning and growing as a composer, and Katz provided a great overview of his songs. It was a very pleasant way to spend an evening for musical theater fans who want to hear those songs from way back when.