A consummate interpreter of songs, Bistro- and MAC Hanson Award-winning vocalist Amy Beth Williams presents her new show, “Carried Away.” Directed by Tanya Moberly, the evening features works by Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Jacquest Brel, Leslie Bricusse, Michel Legrand, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer, and Anthony Newley. She is accompanied by Daryl Kojak on piano, Ritt Henn on bass, Will Holshouser on accordion, and John Henry Williams on violin.
Carried Away will be performed February 28 and March 15 all 7:00 pm, at Don’t Tell Mama, 343 West 46 Street, www.donttellmamanyc.com.
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By: Paulanne Simmons
On her Oct. 26 performance of Carried Away at Don’t Tell Mama, Amy Beth Williams walked onto the stage singing the World War I marching song, “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag, and Smile, Smile, Smile.” Certainly no one in the audience had an old kit bag, but Williams spent the rest of the evening giving everyone reason to “smile, smile, smile.”
This is not to say all the songs were cheerful. Save a few classically hilarious numbers such as “Carried Away,” that cautionary note on excessive enthusiasm from Bernstein/Camden and Green’s On the Town, and Irving Berlin’s lament on life in the military, “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning,” most of the songs were somewhat melancholy. For those of us who think there’s nothing better than getting caught up on a stream of emotion, this was a most satisfying evening.
Williams has the powerful voice and precise delivery that are essential for tender songs that touch our heart.. This is as true for the international World War II ballad, “Lily Marlene,” as it is for Frank Wildhorn’s “I Never Knew His Name” from the 1998 musical, “The Civil War.”
Many of the songs in Carried Awayare about love. And where there is love there is yearning: Legrand and Bergman’s “Windmills of Your Mind,” Jerry Herman’s “And I Was Beautiful,” Legrand and Gimbal’s “I Will Wait for You, ”Styne and Cahn’s “Saturday Night Is the Loneliest Night of the Week.” Whoever chose the songs, whether it was Williams, her director, Tanya Moberly or her musical director, Daryl Kojak, certainly knew what he or she was doing
In a perfect match to the mood of the show, Williams is backed by bass (Ritt Henn), violin (John Henry Williams) and piano (Kojak,). This trio produces a gentle sound that supports the singer but never overwhelms. I was told other shows will include an accordion, which seems totally appropriate considering the number of french songs Williams sings. It is something to look forward to.
A 2012 Bistro Award Winner, 2014 Hanson Award Winner, member of the voice faculty at Manhattan School of Music and adjunct professor in theater and music at Wagner College, Williams, it is safe to say, is a singer’s singer. But you don’t have to be a professional to get carried away with this night of exquisite music.
Carried Away with Amy Beth Williams
Kevin Scott Hall
During times of trouble, there is no better time to get “Carried Away,” the title of Amy Beth Williams’ phenomenal new cabaret show. Walking through the dark room like a ray of hope, she begins the show with “Pack Up Your Troubles,” a pick-me-up like no other, and proceeds from there. Amy will send you back to when America was greater . . . or perhaps not. You see, it’s all about perspective. How do we handle that breakup? How do we pick ourselves up over another disappointment? How do we deal with war? We sing! We laugh! We feel! We allow ourselves to get carried away.
She is backed by a hauntingly gorgeous quartet of musicians: Daryl Kojak on piano, Ritt Henn on bass, John Henry Williams on violin and guitar, and Will Holshouser on accordion. Yes, accordion!
Folks, I have known Amy Beth Williams since we appeared in a revue together 25 years ago. Since then, I have seen her conquer one artistic triumph after another. Why she is not playing to packed houses at Carnegie Hall or on Broadway, I don’t know. But that’s not the point. She is creating something special, just for you and me, in these small rooms. You owe it to yourself to get out and see her. If you are a student of acting, singing, or the cabaret art form, this is your master teacher. We don’t know what tomorrow brings. Go see Amy Beth Williams now.