This review of Baby Jane Dexter in a show entitled "The Real Thing" at Eighty Eight's was written and published by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and appeared in Volume I, Issue 2 (December, 1997) of Applause! Applause!
"The Real Thing" - Baby Jane Dexter
Eighty Eight's (228 West 10th Street, NYC)
Baby Jane Dexter has hit another home run with her all new show currently at Eighty Eight's. Every song performed in this "intimate opera" is flawless. Dexter fully deserves having won a Leonardo daVinci Award this year for Best Female Vocalist. All you have to do is see her current show to know why. It is of the highest caliber!!
Baby Jane wears an amazing technicolor "singcoat" throughout the opera. It is absolutely gorgeous! Ross Patterson is Dexter's musical director and is, in my opinion, one of the finest musical directors in the business. He is an integral part of this show. His piano solo during "You've Changed" written by Carey/Fisher caused me to reach a new level of appreciation for the music behind the songs.
While normally, I enjoy some reflections or insights between songs, Baby Jane Dexter made an excellent decision to sing all 13 numbers without interruption. The common theme of love and the excellent placement of each song made this show a complete delight!
Baby Jane Dexter informed the audience in the program that she incorporated, as part of her show, "about 15 minutes in the room - after the show - to greet, visit and say goodnight to help make the exit part of this experience a more comfortable one." Since the show started 30 minutes late, her 15 minutes were eaten up and the proposed comfortable experience turned into an uncomfortable one as Baby Jane tried four times to close the cabaret room door which was letting in noise from downstairs in the piano bar while the room's manager insisted the door remain open. However, we did learn during this period that Baby Jane Dexter grew up in Garden City and was the "only girl without a clothing allowance." Dexter explains that this is why she "has the right to sing the blues." We also learned that when she first appeared on a television show, the union wouldn't let her join as Jane Dexter since her mother was already in the union and was using that name. Since they wouldn't let them share it, she tried using Jane Dexter, Jr. and then Jane N. Dexter (which people mis-took to be a duo) and finally, upon a friend's suggestion, Baby Jane Dexter. She explained that rejected names included Bunny Dexter and Rolo Dexter. In my opinion, the 15 minutes of personal interaction she planned was a great idea. However, Baby Jane should base herself on the stage and then stroll out into the audience as the urge strikes her. That way, audience members will not feel left out as they did when she sat down at one particular table and in that way, she will be able to take questions from eager audience members.
Baby Jane Dexter's new show is a smash hit!! It will be playing at Eighty Eight's on Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. on December 13th, 20th & 27th. There is a $15 cover and a 2-drink minimum and is well worth the price. Call 212-924-0088 after 4 p.m. for reservations. Don't miss this show!!