For nearly the last two decades, songstress Perry Payne has retained a most interesting reputation in the cabaret arena; she's a true Southern belle by birth in Lynchburg, VA, a champion real estate agent by day, and a top-notch entertainer by night. And she proved all beyond compare in her most recent annual turn at the Metropolitan Room. Directed by perennial Broadway mainstay and international theatre star Evan Pappas, and backed musically by Michael Rice on piano, Ray Kilday on bass, Steve Bartosik on drums and the truly sensational Amy Hamilton Soto on violin, Payne once again comes up swinging, as always.
After launching with "Let's Get Away From It All," "The Best Is Yet To Come" segues into a glorious "Two For The Road." Uproarious patter about Michael Jackson and Rush Limbaugh is followed by the John Wallowitch chestnut "Bruce," and then a brilliant coupling of "Sometimes A Day Goes By" with Sondheim's "Not A Day Goes By." This is only topped further with a threesome of "I'm Coming, Virginia," "Years" and "American Lullaby."
After socking the audience with a one-two sucker-punch of "Dear Mr. Gershwin" and "Fireflies and Shooting Stars" (in which technical director JP Perreaux firmly displays his gift for the medium), Payne goes for the collective jugular with an awesome rendering of "He Slipped Me the Plastic," and then follows with a medley of waltzes including "Do I Hear A Waltz?" and Hello, Young Lovers." A stirring eleven o'clock display of "Spread A Little Happiness," easily prepares for the evening's wind-up, as Payne hits a final home run with "Glitter in the Air."
Perry Payne may not be the most recognizable of names in the cabaret sphere, but she should be, without a doubt. Her appearances within the venue tend to be a year apart, but one can only hope that she might decide to somewhat accelerate that fact. If this most recent outing is any indication of same, it's beyond clear that she will continue to be as perpetually embraced by audiences as ever before.