AREA THEATRE, FILM
NOW PLAYING AND COMING SOON
DARLENE POPOVIC SHINES AT FEINSTEIN’S
by Bonnie Weiss
You can probably count on one hand
the number of comediennes who also have or had solid singing
voices: There’s Martha Raye, who started out as a big band
singer, Kaye Ballard, Jo Anne Whorley (Laugh In) and the inimitable
Carol Burnett. And in film, there was Betty Hutton, whose
singing voice was attractive, but very light. Burnett had a good,
solid Broadway belt, but when it comes to a comic with a voice that is
both lovely and powerful, you can’t beat Darlene Popovic.
Some of you reading this may say, Darlene who? The fact is Ms.
Popovic has been performing in Bay Area theatre and cabaret for over 30
years, winning several awards along the way including several Bay Area
Cabaret Gold, Critics Circle and Dean Goodman awards. And
she has brought her cabaret act to several venues nationwide.
Last week she brought her new – election savvy cabaret show to
Feinstein’s at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco. Called
“Weapons of Mass Distraction: A Pre-Election Evening of Song,
Love & Laughter” it was co-directed by F. Allen Sawyer and
Bev Case. Musical direction and accompaniment were provided by
For the political segment of the show, Popovic selected songs from
several Broadway musicals, with lyrics often altered to reflect current
events. Her engaging opening number from the off-Broadway
musical, “When Pigs Fly” was a perfect choice.
It’s called “Laughing Matters”. And boy, does
it ever in this insane election year.) With her delightful comic
panache she performed a couple of altered lyric numbers from Andrew
Lloyd Webber and Don Black/Christopher Hampton’s “Sunset
Boulevard” and a take off on the “Damn
Yankee’s” hit “You Gotta Have Heart” with a
satiric lyric penned by the original songwriters Adler and Ross
Popovic’s brilliant comic flair was beautifully showcased in her
next segment on drinking songs. (Evidently that’s one way
to make it through these scary and absurd times). One of her
signature songs, which is also on her CD, “Vodka” was a
hoot. (She makes a hilarious comic alcoholic and her Russian
accent is perfect. The number was originally written for the 1925
Broadway musical, “Song of the Flame” with music by George
Gershwin and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein.
For the second half of her show, Darlene performed a few more numbers
that highlighted her well-developed funny bone, like Irving
Berlin’s “Sadie Salome” (introduced by Fanny
Brice in the 1909 edition of “The Ziegfeld Follies”.)
Like Brice, Popovic sang it with a spot-on Yiddish accent. She
also revived a delightful Cole Porter tune from the 1950 musical
“Out of this World”. It was originally performed by
the great comic actress Charolotte Greenwood. Popovic’s
performance not only equals Greenwood’s in comic panache, but is
vocally much easier on the ear.
The show also included a performance by a surprise guest - local
singer, songwriter and satirist Tom Orr. To the Porter
classic “My Heart Belongs to Daddy”, he provided a wickedly
insinuating new lyric with a new title, “My Heart Belongs to
Pappy”. In it he imagines that Ivanka Trump has a more than
daughterly relationship with The Donald. (Incest, anyone?)
As the show concluded, Popovic performed a charming, beautifully
harmonized duet of “Two Lost Souls” from “Damn
Yankees” with her musical director, Joe Wicht and a powerful
rendition of the Kander & Ebb mega-hit from the 80’s,
“New York, New York”. She brought this highly
entertaining evening to a close with a classic Irving Berlin number
that offered a tip on how to avoid election stress and burnout:
“Let Yourself Go”.
& FUTURE 42ND STREET MOON PRODUCTIONS
" BAKER STREET"
(Concert Productions of Rarely Performed Musicals):
lyrics by Marian Grudeff and Ray Jessel ("Guys & Dolls",
November 2nd through 20th, 2016
LOVE" starring Jason Graee
To be announced
Info & Tickets:
MUST-SEE FILM FOR MUSICAL THEATRE BUFFS
costumes, the scenery, the makeup the props
The audience that lifts you when you're down.
The headaches, the heartaches, the backaches, the flops
The sheriff who escort's you out of town.
The opening when your heart beats like a drum.
The closing when the customers won't come."
for the sheriff, everything in this verse to Irving Berlin's classic
"There's No Business Like Show Business" is vividly portrayed in a
terrific new documentary about the 2003-2004 Broadway musical season.
Called, "SHOW BUSINESS: THE ROAD TO BROADWAY", the film focuses on the
trials and tribulations - from original concept to the Tony Awards - of
four musicals: Stephen Schwartz's "Wicked", the Boy George bio "Taboo",
the 'Seseme Street for Adults' puppet musical "Avenue Q" and Tony
Kushner's biographical "Caroline or Change".
Dori Berinstein keeps the momentum going, with expert editing and
dazzling cinematography. What's more, she covers all the bases:
Rehearsals, performances, revealing interviews with producers,
directors, performers, songwriters, choreographers and critics.
Interviewees include actors Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Raul
Esparza; composers Jeanine Tesori, Jeff Marx; playwright Tony Kushner;
producers Rosie O'Donnell and Rocco Landsman, director George Wolf,
critics Ben Brantley and Linda Winer, and more. In short, 'SHOW
BUSINESS: THE ROAD TO BROADWAY' gives us a rich inside view of a
complex, thrilling, and often maddening world.
"Let's go on with the show!"
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