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Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language

The latest artistic creation of Deborah Stone takes the artist to a new level.

After no fewer than six people (seven, if you count THIS review from Broadway World Cabaret reporter Bobby Patrick) urged me to not miss the new Deborah Stone show, I canceled some plans and called Pangea for a ticket to the closing performance of Chiaroscuro on Tuesday night. Those six (*ahem* seven) people could not be more appreciated by me right now because Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO was, indeed, worth canceling plans and catching.

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language A cabaret artist on the rise (given the special quality of her work, one really wants to call Stone an 'artiste'), Deborah has been making her way in the industry for a few years now, sort of applying the "slow burn" technique, with each of her new shows garnering more attention - they couldn't get her any more praise, since, right out of the gate, Deborah Stone has had a strong reputation as a storyteller of special skills. Overflowing with esoteric elegance and sophisticated style, Stone remains, at all times, blissfully accessible. From her off-stage opening notes of "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This," Deborah is in the room to serve as the connective tissue between the audience and the anecdotes. The Deborah Stone experience is something akin to when the kiddies would go to the Public Library for Story Hour and a benevolent lady would read to them chapters from the Mother Goose book. In this case, the lady telling the stories is dressed in a black evening gown with drop earrings, and the stories are musical ones that she has curated to communicate aspects of her life and, in some ways, all our lives.

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language Armed with what can only be described as a genuinely pretty voice, an intellectual intelligence, and an affable air, this singing actress dives deep into each composition, at times taking a moment or two to provide context concerning her own relationship with the song, others, simply allowing the words and the notes, as laid down by the authors, to wash over the audience, leaving on them the impression that, most, resonates with their listener's instincts. Fascinating viewing experiences play before the very eyes as Stone paints pictures, not just with her vocals, but with her eyes, her hands, the poses she strikes, and colors she likes. Whether working with the likes of pop legends like Billy Joel and Sting or presenting musical theater iconography (of which there is a bounty in Chiaroscuro), Deborah Stone never appears to be out of her league; while some chanteuses and divas sound awkward or uncomfortable when jockeying back-and-forth between Rodgers & Hammerstein and rock-and-roll, Deborah Stone deftly slips in and out of the musical material as easily as she might change from her evening wear into jeans and a sweater, once returned to the comfort of her home. Except that Deborah Stone appears to be at home wherever she is - there is no resisting the appeal for one so comfortable in every moment of their show.

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language Chiaroscuro, Stone explains, is an Italian word, a term used in the art world to describe the contrast of light and shadow, and contrast is precisely what Deborah does, in all aspects of her musical cabaret, not only in the collecting of the songs and the order in which she chooses to present them but inside of the performances, starting out with one of the most impressive musical theater medleys ever arranged (Musical Director John Cook deserves a prize for the creation) and continuing right through to the tiniest, most delicate, heartfelt "Something Good" that lands in the all-important encore spot. In between the light and dark that are the boisterous opening number and the whisper of an encore, Deborah Stone offers up many examples of chiaroscuro, throughout, most notably in an eloquent combining of a subdued, contained "Bourbon Street" and a theatrical, exciting "Round Midnight" that accentuates the light and the dark by having Cook take the lead on the first song with straightforward, unassuming piano and brilliant bassist Tom Hubbard using his strings as broken heartbeats on the second. Stone and her colleagues of the instrumental persuasion haven't just worked to make the musical vocabulary between them resonant, they have taken meticulous care to see to it that it translates to the audience. And just when you think you've figured out Stone and her intention, she surprises you with a rarely-sung composition from a notorious flop musical, providing an evening highlight with "It Would Have Been Wonderful" from Annie Warbucks. That is when, twenty minutes into her show, two things dawned on this writer: 1) don't try to anticipate Deborah Stone, for she will surprise you, every time, and 2) I can't remember the last time I saw a bad show at Pangea. Whatever screening process owner Stephen Shanaghan has when booking shows into his club, it is working for him. The experience of seeing a cabaret in this coziest and most welcoming of rooms is never anything less than absolutely satisfying, and thoroughly enjoyable. Artists like Deborah Stone fit, perfectly, the aesthetic in ways that give the audience permission to relax into the experience.

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language For instance - at Tuesday night's show, there was not a full house (even though there should have been) and although patrons were being seated at the center tables, this reviewer noted that the guests were, instead, opting to take seats on the banquettes around the room's perimeter, where they could curl up on the sofa and watch Stone without having to turn their heads or look past the person sitting in front of them. It gave Deborah an easy sightline through which to connect to her audience, but because the room is so intimate, never did it feel like she was far away from us, a vitally important element to the program that flowed so seamlessly from hilarious ("Picasso Woman") to heartbreaking ("If I Sing") under the guidance of director Lina Koutrakos. It was one of the most uniquely connected and comfortable performances I've seen in this room where I've only ever seen good shows.

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language And Chiaroscuro isn't a good show, it's a great show. As, one by one, Stone and co. paint the color and light into the air and onto the mind through distinctive moods, specific choices, and Deborah's impeccable storytelling skills, it is easy to see why, from the very beginning of her cabaret career, Deborah Stone has garnered accolades and a growing reputation as a cabaret artist. It would be nice to see her visibility in the industry grow with more expediency, as the slow burn thing has just about run its course. It is time for everyone to know who Deborah Stone is, and it is time for her to take her place among the artists that both the industry and the cabaret-going public consider the best.

Although Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO has concluded its current run of shows, Deborah's future projects can be found on her website HERE.

Other great shows play Pangea regularly. Find them on the Pangea website HERE.

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language

Review: Closing Performance of Deborah Stone's CHIAROSCURO at Pangea Is Cabaret Artistry, In Any Language Photos by Stephen Mosher


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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 Crazy... (read more about this author)


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