Three-time Tony nominee Marin Mazzie (Passion, Ragtime, Kiss Me Kate) premiered a refreshing show of non-theater songs last night at Below 54.
Mazzie is a reliable, talented, classy performer, and rather than give us another cabaret show filled with “Children Will Listen” and “Some People,” she treated us to the pop tunes from her Illinois youth.
Some of these tunes are kitschy enough that they initially get a giggle from the audience (“Midnight at the Oasis”), and occasionally you wonder if this matchup of artist and material is akin to Picasso playing with an Etch-a-Sketch, but Mazzie approaches them with style and conviction, as if they were Cole Porter.
(Her “Anyone Who Had a Heart” is powerful and she even breathes fire into the Manilow hit “Weekend In New England.”)
Mazzie’s also generous with the sex appeal, opening with an alluring “Come on-a My House” and putting hormonal oomph into “Begin the Beguine.”
And she studs the night with humor, telling us how she realized her purple hair brush doubled as a pretend microphone and something else too (ahem), all while she fantasized being Marin Partridge and looking like the lady on the cover of the Tijuana Brass album.
And her “Evergreen” story is so priceless even Barbra would laugh.
So do check out Marin Mazzie’s show.
She turns pop into…pop art.