Some problems are just not all that bad. The Cabaret at the Columbia Club, recently moved to its new spot in the historic landmark, had such a situation. Director Shannon Forsell’s vision of introducing cabaret greats to Indy created sold-out shows creating the need for an even bigger venue. Like I said, some problems are just not all that bad.
This move down the corridor led to the Crystal Terrace which literally overlooks the Circle’s War Memorial. The increased space of 25 tables indicates this will be the permanent home. However, the sold-out performance of Amanda McBroom Friday evening indicates the need for even more seating.
So, keep the packing boxes on hand, because Forsell has proven she has her finger on the pulse of Indy when she created and defined its cabaret scene.
Headlining the opening night of the 2010-11 season, McBroom, singer, songwriter and actress, provided an evening of emotional awareness. Personable and perky, McBroom connected easily and quickly with the audience with self-effacing tales as in I Want to be Round.
Paying tribute to Indiana’s own legends with Hoagy Carmichael’s Baltimore Orioles, and Cole Porter’s I’ve Got You Under My Skin, endeared her to the audience as well.
Accompanying the singer on piano, life and songwriting is Michele Brourman, who kept up with McBroom; not an easy task. The friends have created a balance whether performing, writing songs or laughing.
The second act, consisting of Jacques Brel’s tragic-inspired poetic-style songs, proved to be the stronger act.
The singer’s earlier light-heartedness was replaced with a sultry-smokiness as she recalled moments in time which gave her life direction. McBroom’s greatest talent is her ability to absorb into the song, channeling Brel’s emotions through her morphing into the lyrics’ style, creating a sensation so strong, it became uncomfortable at times. It was as if we were witnessing the actual heartbreaking moment when Brel’s life hit another sour note, inking the poison out of his system in an attempt to be free of his heart’s prison.
Ending the evening with her made-famous-by-Bette-Midler tune The Rose, McBroom received a well-deserved standing ovation. Returning for an encore, she ended the night on a hopeful, whimsical note with When You Wish Upon a Star.
Bottom Line: McBroom allows you into her world while retaining a mysteriousness, captivating the audience.
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Photo credits: Mark A. Lee, Great Exposures, www.GreatExposures.net
This post was originally published under "Gotta Go" in the West Side Community News in Indianapolis, and the West Indianapolis Community News.