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Review: Bartz Charts Starts Hearts In OFF THE CHARTS WITH MARTHA BARTZ At The Green Room 42

Review: Bartz Charts Starts Hearts In OFF THE CHARTS WITH MARTHA BARTZ At The Green Room 42

Opera Singer Turned Cabaret Canary

Review: Bartz Charts Starts Hearts In OFF THE CHARTS WITH MARTHA BARTZ At The Green Room 42

Heigh-Ho, My Merry Rainbow readers! Bobby Patrick (We/Us/Our), your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in cabareT to bring you ALL the Tea!

So me dearlings, last Friday's sojourn to The Green Room 42 introduced us to out-of-towner, Martha Bartz. Hailing from ... whichever Carolina she says she's from, Martha has nipped into NYC a few times a year for several years to play recital & concert halls, solos with choirs (both in and out of churches), conduct master classes, and sing with symphony orchestras, all in her role as a fully trained operatic mezzo-soprano/alto. But, then, if you look at her engagements past, listed on her webby site, you will see, peppered in amongst the operatic bookings, several dates at Don't Tell Mama's - HUH? Then, there are more Mezzo/Alto engagements, and last September she landed at The Green Room 42 with a show called OFF THE CHARTS WITH MARTHA BARTZ. Curious about these islands of cabaret in the waters of her "operatic ocean" we took ourselves to TGR42 and saw the encore of this show last Friday. Presenting songs from Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, Cy Coleman, George Gershwin, and the like, there was simply not an aria in sight. Indeed, the closest she got to her trained "legitimacy" was a beautiful performance of the Rodgers & Hammerstein KING & I opus SOMETHING WONDERFUL. This was followed by much more "illegitimacy" in the form of an Alex Rybeck-arranged mashup of two Barry Manilow compositions, EVEN NOW and I CAN'T SMILE WITHOUT YOU, mixed with Julie Styne's THE MUSIC THAT MAKES ME DANCE from FUNNY GIRL - and that's what Martha proved herself to be, throughout her show, by presenting novelty numbers THE PREGNANCY SONG and YOLANDA AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS - a funny girl. The highlight of her humor, though, came when she sang a 5 song mashup of numbers from Jo Stafford's Darlene Edwards character. You see, back at the height of Jo's popularity, she and her husband, Paul Weston, created (on a goof) a truly awful third-rate lounge act called Jonathan and Darlene Edwards. This act went on to record and win the only Grammy of Jo's illustrious career - in the COMEDY category. La Bartz tackled the awfulness with the aplomb of a Florence Foster Jenkins, reducing the room to howls of laughter, proving the comedy adage that only a real singer could sing that badly.

Review: Bartz Charts Starts Hearts In OFF THE CHARTS WITH MARTHA BARTZ At The Green Room 42

With medley arrangements and songs by NYC staples Christopher Denny, Rybeck, Joe Iconis, and John Bucchino the lady ran the gamut of her personal vocal productions - low, high, middle, and middle high voice, showing her range, musicality, and training in each of these voices. If Little Bobby were to offer anything in the way of a critique, it would be based on choices in the lady's repertoire that so rigidly kept these 4 vocal placements so separate. When she sang high, gorgeous; when she sang low, SUPER gorgeous; when she belted in the middle, powerful. When she mixed production in a sort of nebulously higher middle-head voice, there was a tenuousness to her tone that fell a little short on power, and, mostly, throughout the delightful 60-minute cabaret, never did her twains meet. With only one or two exceptions, all four of her voices remained separate entities, and we just know the lady has the talent, training, and ability to mix them up into SOMETHING WONDERFUL (see what Bobby did there?). We would, further, offer that master director, Jeff Harnar (who did wonderfully by his singer) work a bit more to loosen up MB's somewhat overly presentational patter, as she was at her absolute best when she went off script and joshed with her audience, than when she was giving "readings" of facts and stories to set up her setlist. It would just be a simple matter of relaxation. As my boss, Stephen Mosher, advises, "Write the script, memorize the script, throw the script away."

Review: Bartz Charts Starts Hearts In OFF THE CHARTS WITH MARTHA BARTZ At The Green Room 42

The lady also had excellent musical support from last-minute substitute drummer Ron Tierno (Bravo Ron!), bassist Steve Doyle, and Music Director Dr. Mory Ortman - who also dueted with Bartz and took a solo of his own, showing that those at the keys can have a voice too. All in all, OFF THE CHARTS WITH MARTHA BARTZ captured the hearts of her peeps on the night and the good news is that she is coming back in two weeks to TGR42 for another go-round on Friday, October 21, and Bobby says, catch this one because we give her a very nice...

3 ¾ Rainbows Out Of 5

Get Your Tickets To OFF THE CHARTS WITH MARTHA BARTZ at TGR42: HERE

Keep Up With All Things Martha On Her Webbysite: HERE

All Photos By Yours Truly, Bobby Patrick

Review: Bartz Charts Starts Hearts In OFF THE CHARTS WITH MARTHA BARTZ At The Green Room 42


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