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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Buddy Beaverhausen Goes Where the Love Is with Kim Grogg

Kim Grogg is every bit the diva and, when she took to the stage at Don't Tell Mama in her light blonde bangs and bob cut, pronounced mascara and fire-engine red lips and flowing blouse, she came across as part Peggy Lee, part Dusty Springfield in an effervescent cabaret show that the packed house demonstrably enjoyed.

This was the second of four nights of her engagement (two remaining shows will be on Friday, December 5 and Sunday, the 7th) but it was grand. If this Tuesday night crowd pleaser is any indication, she will return.

In her introduction, Ms Grogg clearly explains her show is not necessarily about romantic love but largely about varied platonic forms of love. For her dog, for example, as she covers Nellie McKay's "Dog Song." Her self-penned "Go Where the Love Is" opens her act and sets the tone.

While the show is largely upbeat in a contempo pop/jazz style (at which this songbird excels), there is a very nice mix of more downbeat ballads. Drama! Like James Taylor's "Millworker" (exquisitely delivered) and "Almost Better." I would have enjoyed hearing Ms Grogg do a few more "serious" songs although the largely ebullient tone is distinctly something desperately needed in cabaret acts these days.

I could relate to Kim's schpiel about being a long-time Manhattanite who moved to Staten Island (I moved, after most my adult life in the Village to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (right across the Verrazzano Bridge) three years ago this month) before launching into "A Torch Song" about the Statue of Liberty.

There were several clever medleys, I felt, in this show: "I've Got No Strings" melded with "Call Me Irresponsible;" the multi-medley camp combo including "Killing Me Softly," "Torn Between Two Lovers" and "Turn the Beat Around;" Harold Arlen's "Happy As The Day Is Long" paired with Pharrell Williams' "Happy," and the encore medley of Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love" with Kim's cover of Bruno Mars' "Count On Me."

And then there are the boys and girl in the band, including two cabaret award-winners: musical director Steven Ray Watkins and Lennie Watts; plus a violinist and female drummer who provide an expert ensemble for the Mac Award-nominated vocalist.

Any artist who can get his or her audience to enthusiastically clap along to one of his or her closing tunes must be doing something right! I recommend catching Kim Grogg's show on the two remaining dates for this engagement. Go where the love -- and the talent -- is.

Special thanks to the show's promoter, Richard Skipper and Richard Skipper Celebrates.

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