By Jan Wallman
“Play A Simple Melody” A Tribute to Irving Berlin. One knows going in, that a Jane Scheckter show will be great. Her past efforts have been highly entertaining and everything else one hopes for when going to Cabaret. In the first place she can really sing.
She has it all – the voice, the style, the charm and always interesting material. Whether she chooses to honor a composer (Irving Berlin this time), or a performer (her memorable tribute to Bobby Short), or her CD of a group of original songs she likes a lot, all written by composer friends, she delivers satisfying stuff.
There were no surprises in this show – and we didn’t need any. It was just quality songs beautifully sung and played by the best. Her band, excellent musical director/pianist/arranger Tedd Firth, bassist Tom Hubbard and Peter Grant on drums, did her proud and even sang back-up at times. Most of the attendees at this opening night of a four night presentation at The Metropolitan Room, knew every word and every note of a twenty song set of grand Berlin tunes written from 1919 through the '20s, '30s and '40s, from perfect early songs like “Always,” “Remember,” “What’ll I Do” and the plaintive “The Song is Ended,” to his ever popular film and Broadway scores, sung by a perfectionist who cares.
Jane Scheckter has humor, too. No knock-down, drag-out yucks, but sly smiles that communicate to the smiling back audiences. She pleases the folks who know her work and keep coming back for more, and she reaches out to the newbies who have heard the word of mouth, read the rave reviews and are happy to join her many loyal fans. The Metropolitan Room always has superb lights and sound, this night in the hands of the inventive techie J.P. Perreaux.
Keep an eye out for dates for her next go-round, so you don’t miss Jane Scheckter. She’s one of the shining lights of cabaret.