[Dixielandjazz] Lanie Kazan
Stephen G Barbone
barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 8 08:11:39 PDT 2010
Not much time left to see her at Feinstein's however, don't miss her
if you ar in the area. She is definitely among the last of the red hot
Although I am 7 years older than Lanie, we attended Hofstra College at
the same time (mid/late 1950s) after I got out of the Army. Back then,
she sang a time or two with The Beale Street Stompers led by Kenny
Butterfield (trumpet). The rest of that front line was me on clarinet
and Al (Jim) Winters on trombone.
Lanie is a wonderful singer of the songs we all love and a wonderful
lady. Like the article suggests, she also plays comedic roles wherein
she is the stereotypical Jewish (or Italian) mother.
Over-the-Top Style Meets Some Good-Hearted Sense
NY TIMES - By STEPHEN HOLDEN - Oct 8, 2010
As Lainie Kazan recounted her life at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency on
Wednesday evening, it was as though the turning point in her career in
the mid-1960s happened only last week. That was when she was an
understudy for Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl” and waited more than a
year to step into the role of Fanny Brice. As she recalled, the day
came, the press was invited, and Ms. Streisand appeared at the last
Ms. Kazan, now 70, still exudes a volcanic willpower, even though she
had to be helped on and off the stage, and the middle range of her
enormous voice has thinned. In recent years she has developed a second
career playing stereotypically domineering mothers with a good-hearted
comic zest. Her sense of humor carries over into her singing, which is
fearlessly histrionic with a strong element of self-parody.
When she dips into a growling contralto, Ms. Kazan is almost a vocal
double for Harvey Fierstein, and you have the sense that she relishes
the drag queen, mama lion element of her stage personality. Singing
the Sophie Tucker standard, “I’m Living Alone and I Like It,” she
inserted the line, “I’m just a king-size Lollobrigida.”
Her show, in which she is backed by a pop trio, touches all the
sources of her style of over-the-top melodrama, with Judy Garland
leading the pack and Tucker coming in second. Ms. Kazan acts her songs
intensely, but the drama comes from the outside in. When she throws
her head back at the end of a number, she is miming the role of diva.
In “The Trolley Song,” the shouted words “bump, bump, bump went the
brake,” became the song’s comic center. “The Man That Got Away,” with
emphasis on the phrase “but fools will be fools,” was freighted with
more tragedy than even this ultimate torch song can comfortably carry.
But calculated excess, outlandish as it may appear, is Ms. Kazan’s
stock in trade. Among the handful of performers who deserve to inherit
Tucker’s sobriquet, “the last of the red-hot mamas,” she is high on
Lainie Kazan continues through Saturday at Feinstein’s at Loews
Regency, 540 Park Avenue, at 61st Street; (212) 339-4095.
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