Written by Susan Hasho
Karen Akers opened the 2012 Winter Rhythms series at Urban Stages Tuesday night December 4th with her show Anything Goes: Karen Akers Sings Cole Porter (musical direction/accompaniment by Don Rebic).
She began the evening with I’m Throwing a Ball Tonight, then to the improbable choice of Don’t Fence Me In (“imagine Karen Akers in Chaps,” said she). After the song Anything Goes followed by Come to the Supermarket in Old Peking, it became clear to me that something unusual was going on. She didn’t create a precious memorial to Cole Porter. She said that singing Cole Porter was like “throwing a party.” And that’s what began to happen to us in the audience. Silliness abounded. And when the tone became serious, it was for Begin the Beguine and It’s Alright with Me, both performed with fascinating subtext and simplicity.
It seems to me that Cole Porter and Karen Akers suit each other very well. Her phrasing of Porter’s songs was unique and illuminating, and her interpretation always subtle and personal. But more importantly, I felt that there was a comfortable openness about her relationship with us, the audience, which really made it seem as though she was giving us a party. No mean feat–that.
Tuesday evening was an auspicious opening for the Urban Stages musical series which intends to heighten awareness of its outreach program–bringing the arts to libraries and schools throughout the five boroughs.
The series is produced by Peter Napolitano. Artistic Director: Frances Hill and continues through December 15th www.urbanstages.org 259 West 30th Street (bet 7th and 8th Avenues)
For tickets, call Smarttix: 212.868.4444