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Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama

Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama

And now we know why Claudine Cassan-Jellison has been getting all the great press for this show.

Claudine Cassan-Jellison has been performing her autobiographical musical cabaret HEY FRENCHY! for a while, now, and to a certain degree of acclaim, having been bestowed with some impressive notices and a 2022 Bistro Award from the Bistro committee. The show and its creator have developed quite a pedigree since its debut, so much so that Claudine Cassan-Jellison has been playing some encore performances, and encore performances are such sweet convenience for people like this reviewer and Franco-phile who was curious but unavailable for the earlier performances of the show subtitled STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY. So, finally, after many delays, Broadway World Cabaret is pleased and proud to present a review of Claudine Cassan-Jellison's award-winning musical cabaret Hey, Frenchy! because the show and its creator deserve the praise they have been getting from everyone else.

Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama CCJ's story is a personal one, as is often the case with cabaret shows - not always, but often - and sometimes doing a memoir cabaret is tricky because not everyone has a story that can sustain an hour-long show. Everyone's story is valid, everyone's story is valuable, everyone's story deserves to be told and to be heard, but not everyone's story makes a good show - it is a simple fact of life. Claudine's story makes a good show, especially because she and that gentle giant (or giant genius, take your choice) of a director, Barry Kleinbort, have written the story into a good show.

Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama Frenchy is a nickname that Claudine was given by the cruel elementary school children (are there any other kind?) who tormented her because of her heritage, and their taunts of "Hey Frenchy!" left an unhappy mark on her childhood heart, causing her to turn her back on her heritage, much to the dismay of her father, Pierre. The cabaret Cassan and Kleinbort have created tells the deeply moving story of how Claudine found her way back to her heritage, back to the language, and back to her father through record albums her Auntie played for her in her pantry during Claudine's youth. A child who loved to sing, petite Claudine reveled in the albums of Yves Montand, Patachou, Charles Trenet, and many others from the legend of French musical storytellers, sprawled out on the pantry floor, listening to the albums and the stories told to her by her Tante. The magic and the lessons from those hours in the pantry stayed with Cassan-Jellison for the rest of her life, but served her best after he beloved restaurateur father, Pierre, suffered a stroke, leaving the adult version of la petite fille to reach her father in the best way possible - the french music and language.

Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama This is an encapsulated view of CCJ's story, one filled with nuance, layers, and many drawers that are opened as she unveils fascinating chapters in a story that will resonate with anyone who has put away an essential part of who they are, anyone who has been guided by bullies, anyone who has had a strong bond to a parent, anyone who has a deep connection to their heritage. Animated, articulate, artistic and absolutely poised to entertain, Claudine is working with a script and direction that takes the pressure off of her by allowing her completely seamless transitions from spoken word into song, thus placing all the onus on the storytelling, which is where it belongs because Claudine Cassan-Jellison is a Master storyteller, with or without the music. If Ms. Cassan-Jellison wanted to do an hour of spoken word, she would succeed, for this is her natural habitat. At no time does a single moment of her act ring false or performative, even as broad and theatrical as French musical storytelling can be: Claudine is relaxed, at home on the stage, in her element, and comfortable as she shares intimate moments of her story, disarming humor, moments of pathos, and all of the delicious drama that goes along with singing the famous French songs that Franco-philes will want to sing along with, and the rest of the audience will wish they could sing along with.

But nobody should sing along with Claudine Jellison. Everyone should just sit back and listen, and enjoy the journey.

Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama Claudine Cassan-Jellison has this wonderfully colorful voice, filled with character and emotion, able to go many places, both audibly and viscerally, and when she lays on her impeccable French accent, it becomes doubly enjoyable to hear her versions of songs like "C'est Si Bon" and "Le Chat de la Voisine" and songs by her idol, Charles Trenet, like "Boum!" and (of course) "La Mer," but, for this writer, the highlights of the evening lay in her explorations of the Aznavour's "Hier Encore" and "The Old Fashioned Way," although the Piaf segment is equally compelling, especially after hearing of Pierre's less-than-stellar estimation of la Môme. Whatever the era in her life, her story, or the history of French music, Claudine's voice and interpretive skills are equal to the task of the tale at hand, and beautifully so, interesting because, somewhere during her first act, Cassan-Jellison mentioned that part of her personal experience of the last few years was the development of an essential tremor that has affected her singing capabilities. Speaking honestly, we did not that piece of information. Before the confession, this writer who had had no previous experience of Claudine Cassan-Jellison's work had not one single thought or concern regarding her vocal abilities. All I thought was that this was a woman, a singer, an actor, a storyteller with a beautiful, interesting, fascinating sound, a powerful instrument with character, and storytelling skills that set her apart from others, that make her unique, that make her an original. So, I don't know what Claudine Cassan sounded like before this physical development but, today, she sounds and looks like a fantastic musical storyteller, and I hope that the change in her body and voice does not deter her from moving forward in her artistry because here is a performer to be seen, to be enjoyed, and HEY FRENCHY! is a show that could stand another round of encore performances because ce cabaret est vraiment formidable.

Bravo, Claudine! Encore une fois, s'il vous plaît!

The redoubtable Hey Frenchy! creative team is made up of Director Barry Kleinbort, Musical Director David Gaines at the piano and Tom Hubbard on Bass

Claudine Cassan-Jellison will play HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY again on October 16th. Reservations can be accessed HERE.

Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama

Claudine Cassan-Jellison has a Facebook presence HERE.

Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama

Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama

Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama

Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama Review: Claudine Cassan-Jellison Encores HEY FRENCHY! STORIES AND SONGS FROM THE PANTRY at Don't Tell Mama

Photos by Stephen Mosher

Visit the Stephen Mosher website HERE.


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From This Author - Stephen Mosher

Stephen Mosher is the author of The Sweater Book (a collection of his photography featuring celebrated artists from the entertainment communities of New York, Los Angeles, and London), Lived In Cra... (read more about this author)


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