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Cabaret Review (LA): Once Upon A Time by Stephanie Burkett Gerson at Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s

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Michael Sterling continues to bring us the best in new talent (as well as some more experienced performers) at his marvelous supper club, Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s. Not only is the club so well suited for cabaret, it is roomy yet intimate, and the fact that Vitello’s food is so good certainly helps to make an enjoyable evening out.image of Stephanie Burkett Gerson

On April 10 it was Stephanie Burkett Gerson’s turn and she did not disappoint. She has an amazingly strong voice that could fill a stadium. In fact she has sung at almost every sporting locale in Southern California. She has also performed at Radio City Music Hall in their Christmas spectacular, and done her share of musical theatre: Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (several times), Smokey Joe’s Café, Cats, Nine, and the original cast of Green Room. Most of these were at local theatres around Southern California. She has just produced a debut CD called Once Upon a Time. With all that in back of her she has packed her bag and is on the way to New York.

Before she left for the Big Apple she gave one powerful concert. Her father had put together a video of her singing at various ages, which provided a fun background for this show. She opened with “Life of the Party,” the soaring Andrew Lippa song from Wild Party. This was followed by a clip of the singer at age eight sitting down at a piano, which she played badly, but it showed her early interest in music. Another big song followed, “Astonishing” from Little Women.

Stephanie obviously is supported by her family and friends who filled the venue, and she sang “Anytime” from William Finn’s Elegies Cycle as a way to express her thanks. She seemed to favor big over-the-top numbers but they did fit her voice. Perhaps too many Star Spangled evenings in her past. I longed to hear her sing a ballad.

She showed her humorous side with a charming and funny “Taylor the Latte Boy.” Her husband sang a duet with her called “Two People in Love” from Baby by David Shire. They make a nice couple. I wish her good fortune in New York and with her new CD.

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