This review of Gerta Grunen's "Cole Porter: Ninety Stories High" at Don't Tell Mama was written by Andrew Martin and appeared in Volume I, Issue 2 (December, 1997) of Applause! Applause! published by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens.
"Cole Porter: Ninety Stories High" - Gerta Grunen
Don't Tell Mama (343 West 46th Street, NYC)
Even with over ten years in cabaret, either as critic, performer or producer, your humble reporter had never seen a full show by perennial chanteuse Gerta Grunen. And what a pity not to have experienced her until now! On the occasion of her fifteenth anniversary in cabaret, Grunen celebrated with a Cole Porter-themed show at Don't Tell Mama, and the results were simply splendiferous!
Aided ably by Christopher Denny at the piano and direction by David Arthur, Grunen's act, "Ninety Stories High", is above all else an evening of fine showmanship and a lovely trip down a musical memory lane. Grunen is a songstress with a pleasant voice and a keen confidence, who knows how to work a number to maximum personal effect.
Though maybe slightly patter-heavy, the show uncovers not-often-heard lyrics to such Porter classics as "It's De-Lovely", and Grunen's way with the comic standard "Mrs. Lowsborough-Goodby" is, to coin a phrase, the top. The easy stand-out, however, is a brilliant rarity entitled "Farming", with additional vocals by the aforementioned Mr. Denny (OK - she didn't include my personal favorite, the pithy "Siberia", but why quibble with work of this quality?).
If you have an opportunity to catch Gerta Grunen in "Ninety Stories High", at Don't Tell Mama or elsewhere, get yourself to see it! Grunen is Golden!