Review: THE ONE-OFFS Is One Off-the-Charts Smash for Those Girls at Pangea

Those Girls mix it up and it's a magnificent mix for the vocal quartet

By: Jun. 05, 2024
Review: THE ONE-OFFS Is One Off-the-Charts Smash for Those Girls at Pangea
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“Like me!  Like me!  Like me!  Like me!  Like me!  Like me!  Like me!  Like me!  Like me!”  So goes a lyric sung by those likeable singers known as Those Girls.  It’s a sly jab at seeking approval via social media.  And, of course, they shared this number by cabaret colleague Meg Flather through social media.  The cool quartet sang it live in their May 30th program at Pangea that was mostly made up of material they’d previously presented only once before: The One-Offs Set.  As a cabaret show, this gathering of special arrangements written for special occasions was itself a one-off: just a one-night booking, not planned to be repeated.  (They typically do theme shows and are moving on to curate material for their next one, featuring numbers connected to singers and songwriters from the British Isles.)  

Despite any protests that this was merely a night to casually have fun recalling this potpourri of unconnected fare, some learned by request – to guest in the acts of colleagues, etc. – the reception was so positive that almost any dish from this banquet of “leftovers” could be an appetizer for a future set with related repertoire.  For example, hearing their spirited take on “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” you would be on board if they announced a full night of songs about trains or travel or the hits of the 1940s or a survey of material by its writers (Harry Warren & Mack Gordon), or songs that were nominated for the Academy Award but didn’t win.      

The felicitous and fabulous arrangements bring freshness and what you might call “genre reassignment” to old hits, demonstrating the inventiveness and outside-the-box thinking of the group members and their regular musical director/pianist, Steven Ray Watkins.  Of course, the deliciously rich harmonies and various vocal combinations and overlaps are the other distinctive traits of their endeavors.  Adding to the variety is their typical eclectic choices: a range of musical styles, their vocal blends this time encompassing Broadway classics from different decades, pop, rock, country, and — wait for it — “The Star Spangled Banner.”  By evening’s end, they’d dipped their musical toes into the musical waters of Kurt Weill, Justin Timberlake, and even The Chipmunks.  Medleys are a specialty, and the two big montages du jour were super-sized samplings of Dolly Parton and what they call a “Kernucopia”: an assortment of classics with melodies by Jerome Kern.      

Those Girls’ complementary voices make for a magnificent mix, but each woman shines with her own qualities and personality in solo turns.  Rachel Hanson confidently took the lead for “Where You Lead” with Mr. Watkins joining her, Wendy Russell offered a truly exciting “Livin’ on a Prayer,” Eve Eaton seemed to proudly feel her oats with “I Feel Lucky,” and Karen Mack glowed with gratitude on a warm “For Good” from Wicked.  She’ll be back at Pangea to entertain in the front lounge (no cover) on June 11 with pianist/singer Elliot Roth, and at Birdland on August 26, and has a new solo album readied for release.  And Eve Eaton has her own show of Billy Joel material at Don’t Tell Mama on June 22.  The four, full of pep and joy in the camaraderie, also took turns talking to the extremely receptive audience.  It was a mutual appreciation situation.  

Learn more about Those Girls on their website

Visit Pangea at to find more upcoming shows there.

Header photo credit: Helane Blumfield for BWW   (Left to right: Wendy, Rachel, Karen, Eve)


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