The joyous Gay Marshall has returned to Pangea with a brand new show, Gay’s Paree! The American chanteuse takes the audience on a tour of Paris while sharing stories of her time living in the capital city as a cabaret and theater performer. Of course, each story and location lead to a cavalcade of songs in both English and French.
Marshall remains a conflicted Francophile: loving her time in the city of lights while being aware of the eccentricities of the architecture and the citizens. Acknowledging the well-exposed topic by opening with a wry version of Dave Frishberg’s “Another Song About Paris,” she then finds many original aspects to explore as they come from a very personal perspective as both someone living and working in the theater of the city. Some delightful stories emerge from her co-workers’ lack of understanding of how experienced she was, having starred on Broadway for a year in A Chorus Line.
She admits that long before she arrived in her second home, she was introduced to its magic via recordings by Yves Montand, whom she developed a crush on, without quite understanding the meaning of the lyrics, words that when she later was able to translate them shocked her with their political incorrectness. She relates this all with a sparkle and a sense of humor that deflects any smuttiness from her tales.
A fascinating aspect of the set are the well-known songs that Marshall has translated more authentically than the well-known English versions. New meanings are revealed in such songs as the Jacques Brel melody that becomes “WHEN We Only Have Love”. She also offers up a hysterical translation of Jimmy Walter and Boris Vian’s “J’suis Snob”.
But nothing is quite as giddy about Marshall’s memory of performing on a glass-roofed boat sailing down the Seine, singing “Under Paris Skies” while under Paris skies. It’s a lovely image to take home.
Gay’s Paree! continues at Pangea (178 Second Avenue, New York City) tonight – November 2 and 9 at 7 p.m. For reservations call 212-995-0900 or go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2604924. Cost is $20 in advance/$25 at the door.