What could possibly be extra universally relatable in an intimate cabaret act than an underlying theme of human relationships? In Vangari: Humorous You Ought to Ask, taking part in on the musical-comedy duo’s residence away from residence at Restaurant Row’s iconic Don’t Inform Mama, Evangeline (Vange) and Ariana (Ari) Johns concentrate on their close-knit mom/daughter relationship, on songs that discover the enjoyment, ache, and issues of romantic relationships, on their working relationships with their artistic workforce of long-time buddies and collaborators, and on their heat relationship with the viewers, in a brand new present that features a few of the most requested numbers they’ve been requested by followers to carry out from their earlier concert events.
Accompanied on piano by grasp musical director (and de facto third member of Vangari) Darryl Curry, who additionally offered amusing feedback and spectacular vocal passages on a few of the songs, the pair carried out a well-curated set checklist that highlighted their performing in addition to their singing and comedic skills. In every, the ladies embodied the characters of the mini-narratives and embraced the feelings of the lyrics of their costume equipment and props, expressive voices, faces, gestures, and strikes. Choreography by Max McGuire and Mark Mindek was suited not solely to the content material and sentiments of the songs, but in addition match to the venue’s small stage. The musical picks had been interspersed with introductions to the songs and typically humorous, typically touching, private banter that affirmed Vangari’s simpatico familial bond, mutual respect, and love. All of it flowed easily below Christopher Carver’s nimble course.
The fourteen-part set checklist of solos, duets, trios, and medleys launched with Kander and Ebb’s apropos “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Very Removed from the Tree” from the 1984 Broadway musical The Rink, which had Vangari joking concerning the folks and issues they differ on and agree upon; even after they disagreed, it was accomplished in good high-spirited concord. They ended with Otha Younger’s tender 1975 country-pop hit “The Sweetest Factor,” written for and recorded by Juice Newton, which introduced tears to Ariana’s eyes (and to lots of the viewers’s), as they held palms, hugged, and profoundly recognized with the heartfelt phrases, “The sweetest factor/I’ve ever recognized/is loving you.”
In between had been powerhouse renditions of signature hits by legendary feminine Jazz Age artists Bessie Smith (“Take It Proper Again” and “Blue Blues,” sung with gusto by Vangie, Ari, and Darryl) and Sippie Wallace (Vangie’s blockbuster solo on the cautionary “Ladies Be Sensible”), all three of which numbered amongst my very own favorites. So did “Marie Laveau,” written by Shel Silverstein and Baxter Taylor, and popularized by Bobby Naked in his 1974 chart-topping nation recording, however right here given a distinctly Blues-style feminine perspective in Vangie’s intense vocal and story-telling enactment of the New Orleans Voodoo Queen, through which she humorously, and threateningly, interacted with a few of the males within the viewers; Milton Drake and Ben Oakland’s “Java Jive,” through which the trio captured the cool and simple vibe of the unique 1940 recording by The Ink Spots; and the uplifting encore “Intensify the Constructive” by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, first launched by The Pied Pipers in 1944, throughout the well-liked Huge Band period, which left everybody comfortable, hopeful, clapping, and smiling on the titular message and at listening to their high requests as soon as once more in Vangari’s present present.
Different highlights included Ariana’s doleful supply of Earl Brent and Matt Dennis’s 1946 jazz customary “Angel Eyes;” Vangie’s model of “Grandma’s Tune” from Lee Corridor and Elton John’s coming-of-age musical Billy Elliot, sung with a feigned accent; and “A Sure Age” from Ariana and Darryl’s unique musical comedy BUZZ, Son of a Bee . . . an artist’s life for me, with a e-book by Andrew Johns (Ariana’s father and Vangie’s husband), which added yet one more important relationship to the present.
Should you missed it in September, you continue to have yet one more probability this month to catch the entertaining and heartwarming Vangari: Humorous You Ought to Ask.
Working Time: Roughly 60 minutes, with out intermission.
Vangari: Humorous You Ought to Ask performs on Thursday, October 13, 2022, at 7 pm, at Don’t Inform Mama, 343 West 46th Avenue, NYC. For reservations (cowl cost $18, plus a cash-only $20 per particular person minimal that should embrace two drinks), go on-line.