Sherie Rene Scott: Piece of Meat

The singer-actress takes audiences on another personal journey in her wondrous new show at 54 Below.

Sherie Rene Scott
Sherie Rene Scott

Partway through her wondrous new “cabaret” show, Piece of Meat at 54 Below, Sherie Rene Scott tells us that her holy triangle — the three words she tries to live by — are “good, fast, and cheap.”

Maybe it’s true. But as she’s proved in her theatrical work, most notably her extraordinary autobiographical show, Everyday Rapture, Scott doesn’t seem to take the easy way out — on stage or in life. And nothing about Piece of Meat feels thrown together or half-baked.

Instead, Scott asks us to join her as she recounts her most recent spiritual journey — which resulted in giving up her devotion to vegetarianism after 26 years. And if some of us, faced with the same dilemma, might just thoughtlessly bite into the first piece of rib-eye that caught our eye, Scott won’t — well, not before checking with the Dalai Lama and Sir Paul McCartney.

Her stories (again, true or maybe a little not) are enlightening and often quite amusing — and nicely guided in their telling by Lear DeBessonet’s direction. (And, trust me, you may never think about the words “gay for pay” in the same way again.)

But it’s Scott’s musicianship that amazes. Working with composer/musical director Todd Almond, and joined by bassist Alana Dawes and percussionist Levy Lorenzo, Scott takes songs, familiar and otherwise, and transforms them into personal statements of love, loss, heartbreak, survival, and hard-earned knowledge.

Perhaps her crowning achievement is a drastically brilliant reinterpretation of The Talking Heads’ “Life During Wartime” (this ain’t no fooling around, indeed), but her renditions of Joni Mitchell’s “All I Want,” Annie Lennox’s “Honestly,” McCartney’s “Another Day,” and Almond’s own “Oh, Sean” are all artistic triumphs. Even Paul Anka’s well-worn “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” sounds like it was written just for Scott, and not nearly 50 years ago.

There’s little doubt if Scott wanted — blessed as she is with her killer pipes and her actress’ gift for interpretation (and oh yeah, that amazing body) — she could do little more than take the stage, sing some well-worn standards, and deliver a bowl of cherries. That’s not what Sherie Rene Scott craves. She wants to give us — and herself — something to chew on. And personally, I’m already ready for seconds.

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