Brooke Shields: In My Life
The superstar offers up an effervescent, thoroughly worthwhile cabaret act at Feinstein's at Loews Regency.
The first is raconteur. A Princeton graduate, Shields is an extremely intelligent woman, but also a very funny one with a singular knack for telling stories. Her patter here (written by her and guided by director Mark Waldrop) is often pitch-perfect, just revealing enough to let you feel you've become a new, trusted friend. Take her recollection of dating pop star George Michael during her freshman year, which is so deliciously self-deprecating and outright hilarious it's practically worth the cover charge. (Let's say she, like much of America, was a bit slow on the uptake.)
More surprisingly, Shields can add the words "pop singer" to her resume. She opens the act with back-to-back versions of James Taylor's "Your Smiling Face" and Carole King and Gerry Goffin's "One Fine Day" that display a sure sense of exuberance; yet she's equally -- if not more -- at home with the genuine pathos of Lennon & McCartney's "In My Life" or the romantic beauty of Claire Hamill's "Takes My Breath Away" (which she reveals was performed by Tuck & Patti at her wedding).
Smartly, most of the act is comprised of songs from Broadway and film, including many she previously performed on the Great White Way. There's a distinct comfort level to her sure-handed renditions of "100 Easy Ways to Lose a Man" and "Swing" (both from Wonderful Town) and she acquits herself more-than-admirably on "Me and My Baby" (from Chicago) and an understated rendition of "Maybe This Time" (from Cabaret).
She also does a remarkably fine job with Rupert Holmes' razor-sharp "Queen Bee" (from the Barbra Streisand version of A Star Is Born), in which she intersperses verses of the song with heartfelt and honest tales of her family history, especially life with her ambitious mother, Teri.
Shields -- who talks about having to overcome her fear of doing a solo act for the first time -- also deserves brownie points for stepping out of her comfort zone for some unusual selections: Stephen Sondheim and Mary Rodgers' tongue-twisting The Boy From..."; "After All," a song from the Broadway-bound musical Ever After by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich that she delivers with great passion (even if it doesn't sit completely comfortably in her vocal range); and Alan Menken and Glenn Slater's "Can't Get There From Here," a lovely, introspective ballad from the Broadway-bound show Leap of Faith -- which she performed in L.A. last year (and which was sung in the musical by her uber-talented co-star Raul Esparza), to which she brings a distinct understanding of the lyrics.