Lillias White, opened The Green Room 42 last Valentine’s Day. Not only was it the holiday of love, but the birthday anniversary of one of the newest and brightest clubs to serve up an amazing night. Her Half Time co star Georgia Engel, Vivian Reed and Jason Alexander were on hand to lend their support, as This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)(Chuck Jackson and Marvin Nancy) opened the night. Ms. White, looking sassy and comfortable, was a movin and a grovin as her illustrious back-up singers Broadway’s Clayton Bryant, Ramona Keller and Virginia Woodruff swayed to the beat. “Love should be everyday” Lillias stated, as the updated lyrics were in tune for 2018.
“My Baby Just Cares For Me” (Walter Donaldson/Gus Kahn) had Lillias scatting up a storm with some low guttural growls that were down right sexy.
“Squeeze Me” (Fats Waller/Andy Razaf)/“Just Squeeze Me” (Duke Ellington/Lee Gaines) showed the control Lillias has over her voice. She is like a fine tuned Stradivarius making each note and lyric her own. She made the men in the audience want to squeeze her and the women wanting to get those squeezes.
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” showed just how much Ms. White can shake her butt and twerk with the best of them. Watch out Miley Cyrus.
South Pacific’s “A Wonderful Guy” (Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II) was turned into a classical number with a jazz spin, adding twists and turns. The song was one of the best arrangements by Music Director James Sampliner, that I have ever heard.
Hoagy Carmichael’s “I Get Along Without You” was an anthem to those Ms. White lost. It was a grieving that was deeply felt and shared, yet so personal.
Lillias loves audience participation and on “Golden” (Jill Scott) she teaches us;
I’m livin’ my life like it’s golden
Livin’ my life like it’s golden
Livin’ my life like it’s golden, golden
Then went around the room having her vocally talented audience riff on the lyric and tune. It was magical to listen to.
“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” (Brian Holland/Lamont Dozier/Eddie Holland) had a great beat, but Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart’s “My Funny Valentine” was a vocal masterpiece. I listened with my mouth opened as Lillias did something I have never seen, she made her voice go into stereophonic sound. It was amazing and made her trouble remembering lyrics, no big deal. After all she put this show together in two days.
James Sampliner’s fabulous piano playing on Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” was a perfect duet with the vocally mesmerizing Ms. White.
“Crazy” (Willie Nelson) and “Crazy He Calls Me” (Carl Sigman/Bob Russell) was a soulful rendition and Big Maybelle’s “I’m Getting ‘Long Alright” became a sugar baby’s dream song.
“The Way He Makes Me Feel” (Michel Legrand/Alan & Marilyn Bergman) was a love song to the audience and the world.
Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” had a political PC correct speech, I could have done without, but the lyrics are powerful and should be adhered to.
Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got moutains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
As for food, the amazing Mezza, hummus, tahini, sauteed tomatoes, charred eggplant, labaneh, pickles and za’atar pita ($16) was a must as is the flatbread with arugula, feta cheese, olives, tomato, caper and olives $15 is my new fav. Oh yeah, did I mention the wine is just $9 and it is terrific?
Lillias and The Green Room 42 made my Valentine’s Day special. I just love this venue and the vocally brilliant Ms. White.
Happy Birthday Daniel and The Green Room 42.