With Natalie Cordone
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park FL
It’s casual week at the usually classy WPPH – Both the bartender and the box office guy wore JEANS! Standards of elegance are slipping in the rain, but not the musical ones: Natalie Cordone kept up the dress code and floored this crowd of older thrill seekers with a solid set of classic standards. Her childhood was spent with Frank Sinatra the rest of the late century crooners, and their hits flowed forth: “Sentimental Journey” and “Almost like Being in Love” and “Made for You and Me” all were crowd pleasers. Ms Cordone chose these songs from fan letters filled with reminiscences; I even found the couple I was seated with met long enough ago to be my folks. As we wrapped up act one, Todd Long came out from behind the bar and joined in a lovely “True Love”, and soon intermission time rolled around. This was Ms Cordone’s opportunity to sing “What Lola Wants” as she tousled the bald spots of older guys on her way back stage for a costume change.
It was about a year ago Ms. Cordone did her first cabaret here, and she admitted she was terrified. Now she seems to have slid into the role with grace and aplomb: Her second act opened with “You Make Me feel so young” and the chestnut “Wind Beneath My Wings”, and then Shawn Kilgore came out to close out the show with “Hello Young Lovers” and “Unforgettable.” There’s always a little fakey scene before the show really ends, we expect an encore and the cabaret singer here always prepare one. Tonight is was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and while this might be the sappiest song ever written, it’s still the sort of “bring the house down” number that even got the woman in a wheel chair to stand up. You can’t beat this series for intimate elegance, and honestly who cares what the bartender is wearing?
For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org