Jana Robbins has lived a full life and the best could be yet to come. She stared on Broadway in Good News, Crimes Of The Heart, I Love My Wife, Gypsy and The Tale Of The Allergist’s Wife. Jana added another layer as producer on Little Women, Ragtime, I Love You Because, The Jazz Age, Roof of the World and The Astonishing Times of Timothy Crachet. Jana returned to Feinstein’s/54 Below for the third time to celebrate a “very special birthday” with some major Broadway alumni. Starting the evening out “I Gotta Be Me” from the Broadway show Golden Rainbow. For someone celebrating a milestone, Robbins looked radiant. With the “Impossible Dream,” we learned Ms. Robbins arrived in New York when she was 20 and saw her first show in a bubble tent down near 14th Street…. Man of LaMancha. In her “Dream Medley,” Mama Cass’s “Dream A Little Dream of Me,” was well sung. Strains of the show Gypsy were hauntingly subtle. Bravo musical director, singer and pianist Joe Goodrich. A “Standard Melody” of “Time After Time,” “The Shadow of Your Smile” and “The More I See You, followed.”
Ms. Robbins has done several Broadway shows, but the one she loved the most was where she played Mazeppa – the bump it with a trumpet stripper – while standing by for Tyne Daly as Mama Rose, a role she played for 40 performances to critical acclaim. The audience was treated to a Gypsy Medley of “Small World,” “You’ll Never Get Away From Me” and “Together Where Ever We Go.”
Next up “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from the show Jana had wanted to do Sunset Blvd. Back to Gypsy with a powerful “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and Mazeppa ‘s version of “You Gotta Get a Gimmick” complete with trumpet solo, booty shaking and shimmy’s. Can I just say Bravo right now!
Jana may have produced Little Women but here she sang “Here Alone,” from the show. “Come In From The Rain,” led to an astonishing “I’m Still Here.” Once again you are reminded of just how great her phrasing and acting choices are. They are strong, they are different and they are unique and interesting. Ever generous Jana had composer Andre Catrini sing from The Astonishing Times of Timothy Crachet.
As with most cabaret shows Jana’s encore was the heartbreaking and tender “My Mother Was a Singer,” By Eileen Valentino sung to her mother who was in the audience. “It Started With a Dream” by Cy Colman and David Zipple was the perfect ending to the set. Until Jana brought up her mother and they sang together.
Jana treated everyone to cake as David Sabella sang The World Goes Round. Richard Skipper interviewed Ms. Robbins and belted out a mean”Before The Parade Passes By.” Julie Rayburn endeared herself to Gary Hughes when she sang “Back To Before” From Ragtime.
A good time was had by all and Feinstein’s/54 Below outdid themselves.