No ordinary sister act, Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway convince us that they have an affinity for one another and share growing up musical experiences, even if their tastes were different. In their new show “Boom!,” stressing music of the 1960s and 1970s, they share stories about their background and what music meant to them while growing up in Chicago and New York, and it all seems very genuine, not a gimmick of sisters deciding they need to build a show around themselves. Furthermore, at The Town Hall on June 4th, 2010, they demonstrated their vocal power as well as personality power.
They kidded each other about who is older (Ann is), but otherwise, they blended well in duets, yet made sure that each had stage time in which to shine solo. Liz’s voice is in the higher register, Ann has a smoky quality, as well as greater power intensity when she really lets go. Together they make a felicitous team, but their polished presence doesn’t make their performance seem any less natural.
As for the song choices, they appeared to be in singer heaven recalling works by so many of their respective favorites, such as Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Carly Simon, Jimmy Webb (he was in the audience) and Stevie Wonder. They established their cemented relationship quickly as a duo with “Got to Get You Into My Life” and “Happy Together.” Liz soon soared with “Up, Up and Away,” and Ann showed her special strength with “A Case of You.”
Their show was permeated with fun, as when Liz tweaked memories with the “Star Trek” theme, and they joined on the “Batman” theme. They had a good time with “These Boots Are Meant for Walking.” They also emphasized that their youth was marked by protest songs, demonstrated in one instance with “We Shall Overcome.”
Other highlights: Ann doing “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?,” Liz going “Downtown” and their “The Way We Were” duet, as well as their collaborating on “New World Coming” and “Make Your Own Kind of Music.” Their encore duet “You’ve Got a Friend” pretty much summed up the ambience the Callaways deliver together. The excellent supportive musicians included musical director, pianist and arranger Alex Rybeck, Jared Eagan on bass and Ron Tierno on drums. Dan Foster directed. Reviewed at The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street. Phone: 212-840-2824.