Maude Maggart Sings At The Oak Room
(Maude Maggart Website)
(See Maude Maggart With Sweet Despair CD Review)
59 West 44th Street, NY, NY (btw. 5th and 6th Aves.)
Maude Maggart on Vocals
Lanny Myers on Piano
Alan Grubner on Violin
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 5, 2005
Maude Maggart is one of the most stunning young cabaret singers, perhaps one of the most stunning performers in all genres, to grace the stages these days. She has stunning vocal qualities to match, with a retro vibrato and the look of the 20’s and 30’s, except for a contemporary personality and a casual flair for captivating her audience, every second that she’s onstage. Ms. Maggart appeared at The Oak Room with its luscious lighting and classy ambiance, and her black lace dress and long, curly black hair seemed to magnetize both her new and her loyal fans who dined on salmon or steak, wine or whiskey, sorbet or strawberries, and absorbed her glitter and glamour for an hour or two.
Tonight’s tribute to the youthful Irving Berlin (lived to be 101), who was youthful almost a century ago, paid homage to the original songs in his 1500 song repertoire. In an eclectic mix of songs like Let Yourself Go, God Bless America, and White Christmas, Ms. Maggart regaled her audience with anecdotes about Berlin’s early years, early loves, Vaudeville, the saloons, the army, Ziegfield Follies, and the Miss America Pageant. It was almost incongruous for such a young and au courant chanteuse to be re-visiting these favorites from the 1920’s, but we almost forgot where we were as we were drawn into Berlin’s sagas and sorrows, patriotism and passion.
There was one ethnic violin solo for Miss Minnie Rosenstein, as well as a rousing Alexander’s Ragtime Band, with generous piano prominence. Ms. Maggart’s voice almost seemed snatched from the earliest form of recording, and her versatility and vivacity carried the show. When she brought us into a typhoid fever epidemic, and the loss of Irving Berlin’s young bride, she sang with such pathos, When I Lost You. Soon after, I Love a Piano was belted with buoyant bravado. Ms. Maggart told us about the 1919 melody for Ziegfield Follies that became the theme for Miss America pageants, A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody. Suddenly we were regaled with humor with a 1923 song about packing up sins and going to the devil.
Ms. Maggart exemplified versatility with the appearance of her ukulele, and she sang in the spotlight, All Alone and Remember. We learned about Mr. Berlin’s second wife, an Irish heiress, named Ella, who shared Mr. Berlin’s maturity in happiness. The 1925 Always was performed with incredible shifting light, with Alan Grubner’s brief violin enhancement, and Lanny Myers all the while adding texture and resonance from the Oak Room piano. Yet, tonight was all Maude Maggart, and her musicians seemed perfectly suited as background blending. The virtuosity was in her theatrical vocalization, poignant stage presence, historical anecdotes, and genuine warmth and humor. Check the Algonquin Hotel Website to see The Oak Room’s current and future schedule. Kudos to Maude Maggart.
Maude Maggart at Leisure in The Algonquin
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower