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Cabaret Review (LA): Makin’ Whoopee by Lyn Stanley at Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s

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Lyn Sterling is a beautiful woman with a nice voice. Like most of the people who appear at Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s she came to Sterling’s to test her cabaret skills. She came to this test of her abilities in cabaret from an interesting and diverse background. With experience in a Mass Media doctoral program at Michigan State she went on to become a strategic marketing executive for Fortune 500 companies and also taught marketing and advertising at Michigan State, Georgia State Universities, and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Ms. Stanley was also a three-time champion at competition ballroom dancing. So she brings to whatever she does a dedication and a willingness to work hard for what she wants. She chose for her songs some standards from Doris Day (“Love Me or Leave Me”), Peggy Lee (“Fever”), and Judy Garland (a mash-up of “One For My Baby” and “The Man I Love”). Her best songs were those where she used her lower voice, like “Fever” and “More Than You Know.” For some reason her advisors pushed her into using her head voice in some songs and she had some difficulty going from the chest voice into the head voice. When she wasn’t trying to push her voice into the upper register she did a very nice job.

Unfortunately she was sabotaged by the direction she received from a very accomplished cabaret performer, Sharon McKnight. The trouble is that Ms. McKnight’s style is raunchy and blue but this style did not suit Ms. Stanley. Ms. Stanley doesn’t have to act sexy because she already is. She has an honesty and straightforward quality that better fits her singing and presentation style. Having her sway her hips like Mae West seemed out of place.

Trying and just getting up there is what it is all about. Artists learn from their mistakes and the mistakes thrust upon them. I noticed she also had some guidance from Karen Marrow, who is a great singer and has a wonderful stage presence. I would suggest more time spent with Karen. The evening concluded with a video of her past dance competitions where she was on her feet for over three hours. I know she has the willingness.

Lynn Stanley performed at Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s on Nov. 27.

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