In her Oak Room debut August 30, brilliant young actress singer Emily Bergl, star of Broadway (Nora Ephron’s "Love, Loss and What I Wore,"), film (“The Rage: Carrie 2”) and TV’s Royal Pains and Desperate Housewives, roars into the Oak Room with more gusto than Hurricane Irene in the her exhilarating act: ”Kidding on the Square.”
A theatrical cabaret-act that transports the audience on a fast-paced ride through love, heartbreak and everything in between, ”Kidding on the Square” is told from the perspective of a modern girl and the eccentric characters she inhabits,
Something old (the Boswell Sisters “We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye”; something new (Peter Brown & Robert Rans “Material Girl" by way of Madonna); something borrowed ( "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" as an evolving Judy Garland); and something blue (as in Bergl’s deliciously compelling version of “Billy Barnes jazz classic Something Cool,”); the show features a rich array of songs that include Roy Orbison’s “Cryin’,” Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” a poignant characterization of Rodgers & Hart’s “Ten Cents a Dance as a down-and-out hostess,” Dietz & Schwartz’ Confession” and an unexpected opening number, interpreting Noel Coward’s “Mad About the Boy” with a serious bent: the lady gets truly angry.
In ”Kidding on the Square,” Bergl does what she does best, which in the case of this hour and fifteen minutes appears to be everything. It comes as no surprise that her acting, where, comedic, dramatic or character is a paragon of perfection, but she looks terrific is a slinky gray “pull apart” gown, that becomes a sexy dress and finally morphs into leotards and tights. Her movement is as controlled as possible in these small quarters. But the big kicker is the voice: A luscious lyric soprano that can go into a metallic chest, when the material demands, as in an hilarious rendition of the vintage Andrews Sisters“Bei Mir Bist Du Schön” that is worth the price of admission.
High points test Ms. Bergl’s. comedic, dramatic and vocal abilities, which she passes with grade “A” marks. Memorable Moments: Pink Martini’s song "Sympathique" from the 1997 album Sympathique, and you needn’t speak French to get the nuanced meaning.”
Kidding on the Square” is beautifully directed by Sarna Lapine with G. Scott Lacy as musical director and receives outstanding backup from pianist Jonathan Mastro (Musical director of the hit revival of "Our Town,)" with the talented Ritt Henn on bass and ukulele.
After a fun closing (“Dream a Little Dream of Me,”) Ms. Bergl encores with a heart-wrenching version of the Peggy Lee hit “Is That All There Is.“ And indeed, this is one of the few times in recent memory, we felt that way too about a cabaret act: Absolutely electrifying and not to be missed. Reserve now! The show will run through Saturday September 10th.
Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11 pm. The cover charge is $50 per person plus either a $30 food and beverage minimum or a $60 prix fixe dinner. Reservations: 212 419 9331 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: The new menu features an amazingly tender and moist Berkshire pork chop that is in step with making the Algonquin kitchen on a par with the atmosphere, entertainment and service one encounters in this truly great New York institution.
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