“This is the greatest Cabaret Show I have ever attended!” Stephen Holden the esteemed New York Times critic (retired) gave me that quote at the conclusion of Jeff Harnar’s Sondheim show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre last night. Mr. Holden exquisitely painted pictures with a minimum of well chosen words in his reviews of cabaret performers, and the legendary writer was responsible for launching many careers.
Mr. Harnar needs no launching, he’s a Cabaret superstar and in this show directed by Sondra Lee with musical direction by Jon Weber he cleverly put the Sondheim Songbook into a whole new context. This was one of the smartest, freshest shows I have ever attended and it gave me a whole new comprehension of Stephen Sondheim’s words and music. My quote…” if you can only attend one cabaret show…I KNOW THINGS NOW- Jeff Harnar sings Sondheim is the one.”
A word about Jon Weber. The virtuosity of Jon goes without saying and he is capable of stylistically becoming any type of pianist, be it jazz, ragtime, theatrical, or classical. At times his notes almost spoke the words of Sondheim and his accompaniment was a work of art. The dialogue between between piano and vocalist was breathtaking at times.
Mr. Harnar had lots of “company” at the Laurie Beechman Theater. The audience was a who’s who of the Cabaret world and at times I had to remind myself I was not in the audience at a Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention. Check out the photos: