BWW Reviews: Amazing composer Michele Brourman Wows Audience at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal

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On Sunday April 22 composer Michele Brourman (left), joined by gifted singer Pat Whiteman (below), presented a quite extraordinary evening of mostly original musical material at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal. Brourman is best known for cabaret standards such as "My Favorite Year", with lyrics by Karen Gottlieb, and for penning the complete musical score for A Dangerous Beauty, with lyrics by Amanda McBroom, which received a premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2011. She is an unquestionably amazing talent, whose music is deeply soulful, poetic; some on the romantic side; some in a purely satirical mood. You will cry or laugh depending on the tune at hand, but never halfheartedly. 

Whiteman's voice is akin to that of Maureen McGovern: it is richly riveting like fine silk. She is definitely a singer's singer, the perfect interpreter of the composer's intent, and lending an unforgettably individual style. Her emotional instrument is perfectly suited to the music of Michele Brourman. Brourman and Whiteman do indeed make beautiful music on stage.

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Based on her themes of food and love, highlights of the evening included: "Let's Order In", "Heart on My Lips", "Shirt Upon Her Back" with lyrics by Robin Munson and an hysterically funny political plea to congressmen to zip it up and stay faithful to their wives "Voter's Prayer", lyrics by Amanda McBroom. Whiteman lovingly essayed "Consolation Prize", a gorgeous "Sometimes the Sun" with lyrics by Felicia Morris, "Hold Out for the Real Thing" another beauty with lyrics by Karen Gottlieb and two duets "It's Never Perfect" with lyrics by Sheilah Rae and a heavenly "Hope Floats", again with great lyrics by McBroom. Brourman of course performed everyone's fav "My Favorite Year" and closed with a very humorous "Love & Take Out". Her encore "Johnny Appleseed" with music and lyrics by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent was the only number performed to which Brourman did not compose the music, but it obviously has meaning for her and her audience at large, as it thanks God for the simple beauty and treasures of living....like the seeds that provide food. Hope-Net, which provides food, shelter and essential services to Metro LA since 1988 with the motto "Because none of our neighbors should go hungry", is Brourman's heartfelt charity and proceeds from the sale of her CD Fools & Little Children were earmarked for them.

This was a truly memorable and unique concert evening, as Brourman is a consummate artist/composer whose loving and deliciously fun music should be heard by the whole world. Pat Whiteman is also a treasure. Watch for both ladies, as they will hopefully return soon to LA's cabaret world!


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From This Author Don Grigware

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