[Dixielandjazz] Andrea Marcovicci Sings Astaire

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 19 08:02:37 PST 2004

Not Dixieland but surely OKOM. Probably worth seeing/hearing if you are in
NYC and a fan of those great Hollywood Musicals that featured Fred Astaire,
and his wonderful dancing to, and singing of, the Great American Songbook.

Steve Barbone

November 19, 2004 By STEPHEN HOLDEN NY TIMES

A Tribute to Astaire From One Who Knows About Glamour

In her enchanting new cabaret show, "Andrea Sings Astaire," Andrea
Marcovicci drops the Portuguese word "saudade" to describe her nostalgia for
something she admits may never have existed. That something (or nothing) is
old-time Hollywood glamour.

A seductive vision of beauty, grace, class and undying romantic love, as
we've learned from countless Hollywood memoirs and movie industry histories,
existed mostly on the screen and in popular songs of the 1930's, 40's and
50's, but rarely in the driven lives of those who conjured it.

Authentic glamour may be an oxymoron, but Ms. Marcovicci still becomes its
embodiment when she performs. Now in her 50's, she suggests a latter-day
hybrid of Audrey Hepburn, the most gracious, elegant and beautifully spoken
of Hollywood princesses, and Mabel Mercer, that ruefully witty, all-wise,
healing muse of a thousand romantic sorrows. Like Mercer's, her singing is
really speech-song executed with an elocutionary flourish and stylized

In Ms. Marcovicci's star-dusted pantheon, Fred Astaire, the subject of her
newest tribute, is Hepburn's male counterpart. "Andrea Sings Astaire" which
she performs (with Shelly Markham on piano and Jared Egan on bass) at the
Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, weaves music, biography and analysis into a
definitive summary of Astaire's film career. It focuses, in particular, on
his relationships with the composers who wrote for him.

Among her astute conclusions about Astaire's appeal are that on screen he
always fell in love with a woman at first sight and usually in a story
involving mistaken identity.

Another is that in the age before casual sex, ballroom dancing was the best
way for two people to test their physical chemistry, and Astaire was the
ultimate male dancing partner.

In the years she has been performing at the Oak Room, Ms. Marcovicci has
evolved from an A student of old-time glamour into its unofficial custodian.
Bejeweled and splendidly gowned, bestowing smiles so radiant they generate
actual heat, she wraps us in her fantasy. It is an irresistible conjuring

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