Deborah Stone’s Siren Song Was Heard Loud and Clear at Don’t Tell Mama

By MARILYN LESTER**** The Siren’s call was heard twice over at Deborah Stone’s high-spirited and fun show, Siren Song. The first was in the clever idea, with its supporting set list and its “celebration of all things beguiling.” The second was in Stone herself, an elegantly accessible diva of great charm and captivating sweetness. Beginning with “Indian Love Call,” the many moods and modes of sirenhood were explained and sung, from the sweetly innocent “I’ve Got My Eyes on You” to the demanding “You’d Better Love Me” to the saucy, devilish “Whatever Lola Wants.” Stone has a wise control of her vocal dynamics. Rather than rely on power or reaching for keening heights, she imbues the lyric with its own authority. She makes each word count, particularly notable in “I’m a Stranger Here Myself” and her final number, an especially affecting “With One Look.”

Stone has a sure stage presence and a rapport with both her audience and her material. Clearly she’s enjoying both and isn’t afraid to add bits of business or ham it up from time to time. When she comically reads the dictionary definition of the word “siren,” she backs up her “research” with two haunting examples: Camelot’s “Follow Me” and, from South Pacific, “Bali Ha’i.” Pulling a surprise card, Stone sings the “Habanera” (“Love is a rebellious bird”) from the Bizet opera Carmen (sung in both English and French), a mezzo tessitura that suits her operatic voice. Another piece of the siren picture puzzle was Stone’s fitting assessment that a city can issue a siren call, too. Renditions of “I Happen to Like New York” and “Take Me Back to Manhattan” brought to mind those quintessential New Yorkers, Bobby Short and Steve Ross. Her encore, “All of You” gave her “co-pilot,” music director-pianist Daryl Kojak, an opportunity to shine with flair in an extended solo. Siren Song was ably directed by Ann McCormack.

Siren Song played at Don’t Tell Mama on November 15, 2017 at 7 PM. There is one more show on December 14, 2017 at 7 PM. Don’t Tell Mama, 343 West 46 Street. Call 757-0788 for reservations or click here. There is a $20 cover and two-drink minimum, cash only.