Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler
Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler
The songwriting team of Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler has been on the cusp of a breakthrough for several years. Talent like this is not long overlooked, and one of the team's musicals is bound to receive a major production in New York eventually; in the meantime, they continue to write and perform their music all across the country. When in NYC, they can usually be seen and heard at Don't Tell Mama, and that's where we recently caught their performance before a packed house. This was a lucky audience, treated to a tuneful mix of Goldrich & Heisler's much-admired earlier songs plus a substantial collection of newer material.

Raven-haired Heisler is the lyricist. She is also a bona fide singer who could easily step out and put across a cabaret act of songs by Porter, Sondheim, et al. Her multiple talents are evident when she sings "The Last Song," a comic take on the end of a relationship. As a writer, her style is contemporary, specific, and sharply funny; as a singer, her voice is bright, controlled, and warm; as an actress, she conveys her emotions with a winning combination of charm and technique.

At the piano sits Goldrich, the melodist whose work is consistently catchy and theatrical. (The duo's romantic comedy song "Taylor," for example, owes as much to Goldrich's memorable music as it does to Heisler's acutely observant lyric.) At the show we attended, Goldrich stood out as a performer as never before. This was especially true as she sang two newer comedy songs: "That's All," a piercingly funny take on the things that men want in women, and "Baltimore," an even funnier song concerning advice about men from that famous city in Maryland. Performing with flair and confidence, Goldrich put these numbers over incredibly well, seeming to own them so completely that one had to be reminded that Heisler wrote the lyrics.

On this occasoin, Goldrich & Heisler's perennial guest artist, Scott Coulter, was given the opportunity to sing yet another new tune from the songwriters' canon: "Taking Flight." The title was appropriate as Coulter's voice soared with passion in this romantic lament of a young man for his deceased wife.

A young and attractive pair of songwriter/singers, G&H have a very special talent for musical comedy on the subject of romantic relationships. Time and again, their best songs reflect a deliciously ascerbic attitude toward the opposite sex, but there's nothing mean or nasty in what they write. In fact, quite the oppositeis the case: Their work is generally upbeat and fundamentally youthful, which is why so many people gravitate toward it. Goldrich & Heisler are back at Don't Tell Mama on Thursday, October 17 at 8pm and Friday, October 18 at 9pm.

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[More cabaret reviews by the Siegels can be found at www.cabarethotlineonline.com]