I first met Amy Beth Williams about 20 years ago when she joined my cabaret class, The Singing Experience (www.SingingExperience.com ). It was especially gratifying to see her back in the cabaret circuit and a finalist in last year’s Metro Star Challenge at the Metropolitan Room. Her new show “Once in Love With Amy,” features The Daryl Kojak Trio (Ritt Henn on bass, Rex Bennincasa on drums and her nephew, John Henry Williams, on violin for some songs.
Amy Beth is a polished performer who uses her exceptional gifts to put over a song. She is also an accomplished actress, with a remarkable vocal instrument and range. Amy’s choice of material is varied and challenging allowing her to show her keen sense of humor and dramatic ability. The theme was love and, although she is very good at patter and comfortable on stage, she mostly let the songs speak for themselves.
The first few songs told a story. “I’m All Right” Becker/Klein/Peyroux) about a girl who tries to convince herself that she will survive a recent break up; “Come Back to Me” (Lerner/Lane) practically begging the guy to return; “Why Can’t I Forget” (Barron/Hams) a light opening of absent-mindedness that ends with remembering “the way you said goodbye.” The next medley closed the story with Amy singing “I Fall in Love Too Easily” and “My Foolish Heart.” Her interpretation led me to believe that she will repeat the pattern again and again.
Amy is versatile and can go from a sardonic rendition of Sondheim’s “I Never Do Anything Twice” to Piaf’s “L’Hymne A L’Amour,” in impeccable French, to a fun tale of a bored teacher in “Teaching Third Grade” (Paley/Laird). Francesca Blumenthal and Daryl Kojak’s song about trying on a man’s shirt and other things but “Never Try On His Name,” was followed by that great old chestnut “I Wanna Get Married” (Shapiro/Pascal/Charig).
Highlights to this show included “Matelot” (Sailor in French) by Noel Coward, the throbbing “Tango” (Leiber/Stoller) and “The Answer” by the late John Wallowitch, summing up that love is the answer and the key to all. Amy’s encore was a fitting song urging us to live every day as if it was our “Last Day on Earth” (Lance Horne). The audience responded with a standing ovation!
Amy took time returning to cabaret, but she did it right. She chose some of the best musicians in the business, picked great material to tell her story and made every song an acting monologue that was enhanced by her expressive and beautiful voice Additional shows at The Metropolitan Room are 2/24, 3/23 @ 9:30PM. Reservations (212) 206-0440.