By: Alix Cohen
November 11, 2021: Arguably one of New York cabaret’s treasures on and off the stage, Sidney Myer once again elicits both buoyant laughter and empathetic pathos from a not-to-be-missed show. AS vulnerable as Charlie Chaplin but with a proclivity to tease, the artist has only to raise a well timed eyebrow, glare, grow still, or grind his hip to affect an audience. He uniquely manifests wry, sexual innuendo with a sense of play, yet plumbs romance and innocence. .
“I Am Your Man” (Bonnie Lee Sanders/Susan Green) arrives with a little body pump, eyebrows forming a point; one eye closes, fingers splay. When you’re sorta, kinda feelin’ blue… he sings with a sigh…“Boo hoo,” he says, fingers tracking imaginary tears… “Lift off!” he calls (prefacing musical swell). It’s touching rather than over the top – and hysterically funny.
Natural sweetness blooms with Jerry Bock/Sheldon Harnick’s “Here in Eden” from The Apple Tree. Myer scans the room suddenly wide-eyed: How’d I come?/Where’m I from?/What’s my ultimate aim?/I don’t even know/Even so/I’m glad I came. He looks about ten years old. “Sing a Rainbow” (Arthur Hamilton) emerges at the same naïve emotional age. This song is oddly paired with a deeply romantic “Bella Notte” (Peggy Lee/Sonny Burke). I fail to understand the connection.
“When I Just Wear My Smile” (Tom Lane/Sharon Pulley) and “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” (Martin Charnin/Charles Strouse) follow suit at soft shoe tempo. Myer evokes ‘the little tramp’. Johnny Mercer/Jean DePaul’s “Namely You (Namely Me)” is immensely moving. His eyes glisten, his voice breaks. The club holds its breath. With Cy Coleman/Ira Gasman’s “Easy Money” we see the actor – nostrils flaring, grabbing at unexpected pay and popularity. “I really could get used to it,” he growls stuffing invisible bills in his mouth.
Three signature songs are performed with balletic arms: “Mary Cohen” (Chuck Prentiss) during which the club spontaneously bursts forth with “her name and” the provocative “Pheromones” (Joan Cushing) for which Myer resembles a heat-seeking missile: I don’t give a damn if you can read, As long as you’ve got what I need- “Read my hips!” (grind left, grind right, pelvis thrust) precede “the song you’ve all been waiting for,” a purring,””It’s So Nice to Have a Man Around the House”: Nice! Man! HOOOUUUSE. These are no less engaging for familiarity. My cheeks hurt from smiling.
A parentheses about those Myer has booked over decades (or facsimiles thereof) takes us to “Dance With Me” (Mark Sonnenblick from Midnight at The Never Get, a musical the artist was instrumental in giving a leg up). It’s a killer song to which the artist does full, heart breaking justice.
His encore of Allen Sherman/Lou Busch’s “Good advice,” bounces us out Tigger-like, employing all the thespian’s talents. It’s another to which, unasked, we collectively sing the chorus. People line up to literally thank Sidney Myer who always looks surprised. Treat yourself. Go.
Tonight’s opening is packed with too many cabaret peers to single out, but Myer is surprised and delighted to acknowledge Marilyn Maye of whom he’s been an ardent fan since childhood.
Photos by Magda Katz
Sidney Meyer Back at Pangea
MD/Piano- Tracy Stark Director- Peter Schlosser
Drums- Dave Silliman, Bass- Skip Ward
ADDITIONAL DATES: November 15, 22, and 29th at 7 p.m. and with any luck, another Gala New Year’s Eve
Originally Posed on November 11, 2021 on Woman Around Town