Monday, November 28, 2011

Applause! Applause! Review of Jane A. Johnston & Paul Horner by Andrew Martin

This review of Jane A. Johnston & Paul Horner at Danny's Skylight Room was written by Andrew Martin and appeared in Volume I, Issue 1 (November, 1997) of Applause! Applause! published by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens.

California Shakes It Up
Danny's Skylight Room (346 West 46th Street, NYC)

The shores of New York begin to teem in October with the sudden arrival of out-of-town talent arriving for the Cabaret Convention. It's a time when those who've already begun achieving local legend in the clubs of Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and London can show the New York cabaret contingent how it's done out of town. And two performers who arrived direct from Hollywood proved stellar examples of same this time around.

The first was Jane A. Johnston, who kicked off her five-week engagement of "Hollywood Party" at the Restaurant Row eatery-kum-cabaret on the fortieth anniversary of her opening night in "Happy Hunting" on Broadway, starring Ethel Merman. For a lady who took quite a long hiatus since performing in New York, it was easy to see that Johnston was and is above all else a pro who knows her effortless way about the boards. Absolute standout: Rodgers & Hart's little known ballad "My Friend The Night", at once hushed, haunting, and just lovely. Kudos to Jane A. Johnston, and let's hope her next return to NYC need not center solely on the Convention.

Playing for Johnston, in addition to the always-flawless John Loehrke on upright bass, was composer/pianist/entertainer Paul Horner, perhaps best known for his collaboration with Miss Peggy Lee on the ill-fated Broadway show "Peg". Horner brought his own talents and splendiferous sense of raconteurism to a show which was nothing short of the very best cabaret had to offer in October. Best numbers included "Windows" (made most famous in cabaret circles by KT Sullivan) and "The Last Noel", a Yuletide tribute to Sir Noel Coward which firmly places Horner among America's greatest special material penners now or ever. In a nutshell, Paul Horner is a must-see.

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