Ross Puts on the Ritz
Legendary cabaret singer Steve Ross, the longtime toast of Broadway and super clubs around the world, made a rare Los Angeles appearance on November 22, at Mark's Restaurant in West Hollywood, courtesy of Chris Isaacson and Shane Scheel's Upright Cabaret.
The world-class entertainer started his revue of evergreen Broadway songs by announcing that he was celebrating his 50th year in show business, which led to heartfelt applause. The talent and showbiz savvy that he has polished to a fine sheen over the years was much in evidence in the delightful two-hour show.
The first act was a cavalcade of some of the best from Cole Porter (Can Can, I Get a Kick Out of You, Anything Goes) and Irving Berlin (I Love a Piano, What'll I Do, Alexander's Ragtime Band), sprinkled with choice offerings from the likes of Noel Coward (Mrs. Worthington) and Henry Mancini (Two for the Road).
Act two focused entirely on the canon of Steven Sondheim, as Ross also has in his arsenal an entire evening devoted to works of the master. Favorites from Company (Another Hundred People, Being Alive, Sorry/Grateful), A Little Night Music (Send in the Clowns), Follies (Ah Paris!) were included, and I was very pleased that he included numbers (We're Gonna Be Alright, Take the Moment) from the criminally underrated score that Sondheim wrote in collaboration with Richard Rodgers for Do I Hear a Waltz?
Ross is a pianst extraordinaire (as so aptly demonstrated in his Edith Piaf suite) and sublime song stylist, imbuing the selections with passion, humor, irony, wit, and all of the other wonderful nuances to be gleaned from the Broadway treasure trove. He brings a freshness to every piece that he tackles, imbuing the material with his own trademark style. His between-songs banter is clever and urbane. He's the height of sophistication, melded with a down-to-earth warmth that captivates an audience from start to finish. It's wonderful to see all of the bright young talent that Upright so frequently offers, but evenings like this, spotlighting the work of first-class pros of the elder generation, provide a welcome balance to the mix.