BWW Reviews: CHARLOTTE PATTON Sensuously Celebrates Men—In Spite of All Their Flaws--in Sophisticated Show at the Metropolitan Room

BWW Reviews: CHARLOTTE PATTON Sensuously Celebrates Men—In Spite of All Their Flaws--in Sophisticated Show at the Metropolitan Room

"One cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty."--Jane Austin

It takes a woman of considerable wit, style, and maturity to tackle (let alone celebrate) the subject matter of men. In her new show, Celebrating Men (Bless Their Hearts), seen last Thursday night at the Metropolitan Room, happily, Charlotte Patton possesses all those traits as she leads us on her guided tour of all the various male idiosyncrasies that can drive a woman wild--or mad.

Opening the show with the terrific 1959 Peggy Lee hit "I Like Men" (written with Jack Marshall), Patton flirtatiously welcomes her audience by lyrically listing all the various types of men she adores--Blue eyed, brown eyed, bald or square, short or tall, big or small, by God, she loves em' all! Breaking into patter mid-song, Patton introduce an interesting celebratory "drinking game," asking the audience to toast each of the men in her life as she proceeds with her roll-call-romp throughout the evening. Game on!

First on the list is the "Handy dandy hobby man that's so good with his tools" that Patton pays tribute to by singing another wonderful Peggy Lee hit "I Love to Love." In contrast there's the hilarious "Man who's too macho to read instructions while assembling a bookshelf unit" as she bemoans that fact with "It's So Nice to Have a Man Around the House" (Harold Spina). With "Love Is a Necessary Evil" (Fisher/Segal), Patton introduces the "Frisky, hunky, direct from the shower type guy" whose behavior she comically equates with a St. Bernard shaking himself dry, but all is forgiven as he whisks her off to the bedroom singing a slow simmering "Do It Again" (George Gershwin/Buddy DeSylva). I'll drink to that.

BWW Reviews: CHARLOTTE PATTON Sensuously Celebrates Men—In Spite of All Their Flaws--in Sophisticated Show at the Metropolitan RoomDevoting an entire section in the act to the contemporary struggles a mature woman faces in search of "Finding the man of your dreams", Patton sings in a finer shade of emotional blue with Harry Nillson's "Thursday (Here's Why I Did Not Go to Work Today)." Giving us her take on the frustrations of dealing with a "Mr. Indecisive," Patton sings "You Better Love Me" (Hugh Martin/Timothy Gray) from the 1964 Broadway musical High Spirit, followed by an elegant, smoldering, "I Must Have That Man" (Jimmy McHugh/Dorothy Fields), delivered with a slow, steady, simmering flame from the heart. Heating things up a bit, Patton displays the playful spark of romantic expectations in "This Can't Be Love" (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart). With the wonderfully clever "Quality Time" (Dave Frishberg), Patton pays a comical homage to "The Over Achiever," leaving the audience wondering how anyone can possibly find true love in the big city. Again, I'll drink to that.

For the most part, Patton uses observational humor to state her case in patter, while vocally maintaining a steady emotional simmer throughout the evening. However, by the time we get to the 11 o'clock number in the show-"Losing My Mind" from Follies--Patton never quite reaches the necessary emotional boiling point on Sondheim's power ballad. I suspect for Patton there's far more emotional baggage left to unpack with this particular song, and with her vast acting experience she's certainly capable.

Multi-award winning Musical Director Barry Levitt and bassist Tom Hubbard are the artistic men in Patton's (stage) life supporting her journey admirably. Levitt's arrangements are top notch as is his jazz infused piano solo's adding a youthful lift throughout the evening on songs such as "I Won't Dance" (Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh), and "This Can't Be Love." Hubbard, the 2015 MAC Award recipient for "Best Instrumentalist," excels adding further musical depth especially on the Nillson and Sondheim songs. Multi-award winning cabaret singer Karen Oberlin directs with a skillful eye, with additional assistance from Peter Napolitano as Creative Consultant.

Charlotte Patton's Celebrating Men (Bless their Hearts) will return to the Metropolitan Room on Monday, June 29 at 9:30PM, Friday, July 31 at and Thursday, August 20, both at 7 pm.

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From This Author Billie Roe

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