Review: GLAMOROUS NIGHTS AND RAINY DAYS Is a Glamorous Night of Grace Raining Down at Chelsea Table + Stage

She's got elegance.

By: Feb. 28, 2024
Review: GLAMOROUS NIGHTS AND RAINY DAYS Is a Glamorous Night of Grace Raining Down at Chelsea Table + Stage
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There’s something formal and refined about singer-actress Lorna Dallas that doesn’t ever go away entirely, no matter what song she’s wrapping her voice around in her act titled Glamorous Nights and Rainy Days on West 26th Street at Chelsea Table + Stage.  She looked pretty glamorous herself in her chosen Sunday stage garb on the last Sunday in February.  She captures some of the ebullience in the song “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” from Hello, Dolly!, but she seems more tailor-made for the score’s “Elegance.” (Indeed, in her theater career she played one of the characters handling that number).  Graceful and gracious as she is, her singing so much in the upper range of her silvery high soprano with vibrato can suggest more the atmosphere of a recital on a larger stage by a performer steeped in the style and stance of operetta rather than intimate, emotion-sharing cabaret approach.  Her skills with the grander genre were cleverly exploited with the Gershwins’ wink at it in “By Strauss,” expanded with additional material by her director, Barry Kleinbort.  

Pieces sung in lower keys had a higher accessibility/connection factor, allowing more naturalistic acting to shine through. Slowed down and more conversational, “In Buddy’s Eyes” from Follies had more “room” to paint the character and her professed contentment and gratitude for a husband who, she claims, treats her as “still the princess, still the prize.” Another selection by that composer-lyricist, “Back in Business” was a joyful moment, although its opening lines took on new context referencing the worried mindset of the onset of the pandemic and the shutdown: “Yesterday it seemed the world was about to end. Didn't it?/ Looked as though it wouldn't last out the year./ Yesterday disaster waited around the bend.”      

Unsurprisingly but gratifyingly, the most impactful performance was “In My Dreams,” written specifically for Lorna Dallas by Ann Hampton Callaway and Amanda McBroom, based on comments she’d made about feeling her late husband’s presence.  It was moving and bittersweet.  Two numbers written for theater scores by Don Gohman and Hal Hackady were also quite welcome.  And it was also interesting to hear “Here’s That Rainy Day” complete with all the character-specific material written for its presentation as a theater song from a show that never got a cast recording (the musical, Carnival in Flanders, closed after six performances), rather than the much shorter standard version of this standard.  

Christopher Denny provided his usual excellent and supportive piano presence, professionalism, and polish.  He’s long been a major asset to singers in cabarets and concerts.  The audience for Glamorous Nights and Rainy Days included quite a few fellow performers and other musically savvy people who applauded in agreement when Lorna Dallas mentioned the talents of certain songwriters and singers who’ve made the world of song more glamorous.

 

Visit Chelsea Table + Stage online here for more shows.

Header photo credit: Conor Weiss.



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