Nellie McKay: Normal as Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day
The singer's new show at Feinstein's at Loews Regency is marred by her sometimes careless vocalizing and odd song choices.
The show is also a decidedly non-traditional tribute to Day. After opening with Day's 1945 establishing "Sentimental Journey" -- and then including "Mean to Me" and "The Black Hills of Dakota," from Day's flicks -- she never explained how Day's work affects her as performer. And eventually, McKay -- who primarily sat at the piano in a lime-green jacket-dress -- not only eventually veered completely from any banter about Day, but abandoned the performer's songbook.
Instead, she evoked Ella Fitzgerald with that icon's signature song, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket." Her light vocal touch was a definite asset on "Close Your Eyes" and "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" And while she did get around to chanting the show's title tune, "A Wonderful Guy," which Day eventually recorded, she did so without even noting that the actress turned down the role of Nellie Forbush in the film version of South Pacific.
Too often, she leaned towards ditties of her own devising. None of these had much allure as they reached for loopy humor they don't often achieve -- like a piece called "Bodega." And "Caribbean Time," was so garbled in her rendition that I understood none of the words.