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Cabaret Review (LA): Maxine Lapiduss at Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s

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Maxine Lapiduss has been around. She is an award-winning TV writer/producer (Roseanne final season, Home Improvement, Dharma and Greg, and Situation, which she hosted and produced with Sean Hayes). She began her career as a standup and singer at the ripe old age of 14, appearing at the Improv, Catch a Rising Star, and The Bottom Line. She continues to write and produce content for TV and the web. Her appearance at Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s represesents her return to singing and comedy. I, for one am glad she is back. Her program was a wonderful evening of hilarity and tunes.

Maxine opened her program with an appropriate song, “Mackie’s Back,” that was greeted by the room full of friends with cheers. Scattered throughout the evening were some very very funny songs: “That’s the Way We Do It in LA-Lay” about life in LA, “Shitty Angels” about the existence of angels that guide our bad times, and “Scared about Life without Oprah.” Interspersed was a sampling of her standup which has not lost its edge or humor.

Ms. Lapiduss has an interesting hobby: she collects showbiz artifacts including arrangements of long-gone singers. We heard Billie Holiday’s “Getting Some Fun out of Life,” a Sammy Davis arrangement of “Under My Skin,” and Francis Fay’s rendition of “The Man I Love”. All these songs allowed her remarkable set of eight musicians, led by Michael Orland, to show their amazing musicianship.

There were also some serious moments, involving her lesbian relationship of 19 years with a gal named Hillary. She made lots of jokes about with gay marriage and didn’t recommend it despite her own successful relationship. She sang a serious and lovely rendition of “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter.”

Maxine Lapiduss appeared at Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s, and will be coming back to polish the act on March 6th and 27th. This is a very special evening in cabaret and comedy, with a real pro who shows great courage and artistry in returning from the backstage of TV into a milieu of a living breathing audience.

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