Wesla Whitfield

The Best of Cabaret and Jazz at the Metropolitan Room
Metropolitan Room (New York City, NY)

  Rating_4_0   Written on Jun 08, 2010
  Performing in a New York club for the first time since January 2009 Ms. Whitfield was at the top of her form. Focusing on songs from old movies, Ms. Whitfield introduced each song, some very obscure, with personal anecdotes about herself and the songwriters. This included a very funny personal memory about meeting David Raksin for the first time and saying something that she immediately regretted. Remembering this inappropriate remark for years, she met Raksin again many years later and apologized but he told her he didn't remember it! Then she sang his most famous song "Laura," a song few female singers sing, and included the rarely heard verse. It was a stunning performance with concerto like work from her musical director/partner Mike Greensill on the instrumental portions of the selection. A unexpected trio of Harry Warren songs were also spread out among the performance, including the sly finale comment about today's economy, "We're in the Money (The Golddiggers Song)". Ms. Whitfield creates poetry with minimal hand gestures that are so expressive and right they are a work of art. She approaches each selection with an unexpected interpretation of the lyrics that was truly extraordinary. Every singer should attend her master class in song interpretation and learn how simple is the strongest way to communicate. Along with the new insight into familiar standards, the act was chockful of sly humor and ironic twists and turns in her performance of the lyrics, including a hysterically funny interpretation of "He's A Tramp" with all the dog sounds and comments from the original movie made by her trio. Brava and come back soon!