KT Sullivan

By William Wolf

September 21, 2007



Some singers excel with their voices. Some get by on personality. Others shine in lyric interpretation. The delightful KT Sulllivan touches all the bases with high style, her attributes on compelling display in her new “Autumn in New York” show in the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel (Sept. 18-Oct. 13, 2007). Sullivan is a sparkling entertainer, building an easy rapport with her audience and seeming totally at ease and in full at command as she dispenses a huge measure of pleasure with her repertoire and personality.

For starters, her voice is the real thing. It is lovely and well-trained, as evidenced, for example, in her elegant rendition of “Falling in Love with Love” from the Rodgers and Hart show “The Boys from Syracuse.” But there is also a playful side to Sullivan, enabling her to have some fun with “Do I Hear a Waltz?” from the Rodgers and Sondheim show of the same title. She can be sassy with her “I’m Just a Little Girl from Little Rock” from the Styne/Robin “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” or tender and lyrical with Kander and Ebb’s “Colored Lights” from “The Rink.”

Sullivan looks extremely attractive, and on the night I attended she was wearing a bare-shouldered dark red gown that matched the sophisticated tone of her act. There’s a twinkle to her approach to some of the music and to her audience. She has a great time with “Well of All the Rotten Shows” from Irving Berlin’s “Face the Music,” interspersing reading of a collection of renowned critics’ put-downs, many of them hilarious. Her delivery is letter-perfect.

Her rendition of “Barbara Song” from Weill and Brecht’s “The Threepenny Opera” is much different than interpretations heard from others. Sullivan accents the beauty of the music combined with the dramatic friskiness of the lyrics. One observes from this go-around that she is broadening her territory, and also maturing as a solo artist. Sullivan has a grab bag of references to clue the audience into where she is coming from, and she introduces celebrities in the crowd with what appears to be genuine welcoming rather than perfunctory ritual.

Among other numbers culled from musical theater are “Try to Remember” and “Much More” from “The Fantasticks,” “Another Autumn” from “Paint Your Wagon,” “And I Was Beautiful” from “Dear World,” “But Alive” from “Applause” and “September Song” from “Knickerbocker Holiday,” all of which provide an idea of how extensive Sullivan’s range is and how she deftly mixes styles. At the Algonquin Hotel, 59 West 44th Street.