Friday, May 21, 2010

Welcome To New York, Mitzi

Mitzi Gaynor certainly gave them the old razzle dazzle in her New York City debut on Tuesday night. The legend, most famous for playing Ensign Nellie Forbush in the South Pacific film, is now appearing at Feinstein's through May 29 in "Razzle Dazzle! My Life Behind The Sequins."

After a video montage (there are several of these throughout the evening, highlighting her career, and they are all entertaining), Gaynor appeared, looking adorable in a sailor outfit. As you might guess, her first song was "Honey Bun." Her voice isn't in top condition and there were sound problems on the night I attended, but her charisma more than made up for it. Switching into a new Bob Mackie gown, each more stunning than the last, between every few songs, she does not look her 78 years, and she can still move. She also proves to be quite feisty, not afraid to tell a dirty story or two. For any fan of old Hollywood, her stories alone are worth the price of admission. For all her humor, there are some genuinely moving moments, such as when she speaks about her late husband. I was also impressed by the variation in her set list, of course singing some South Pacific favorites, but also a newer showtune, "Show Off" from The Drowsy Chaperone, and closing with Stevie Wonder's "You Are The Sunshine of My Life."

Now that Gaynor has a taste for New York, let's hope she performs here often. If you do attend the show, and I recommend that you do, note that it does not take place in the regular Feinstein's venue, but in the larger ballroom across the hall.

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