With each booking, delightful singer Maude Maggart stresses a different side of her stage personality. She is especially playful in her enjoyable new show at the Oak Room Supper Club in the Algonquin Hotel (February 15-March 12, 2011). Appearing in a red dress with her left shoulder bared, she looks appealing even before she launches into her title selection, Irving Berlin’s “Everybody’s Doin’ It,” to which she adds perky body movements that accent the fun and sexiness she is injecting. She also ends the show with a reprise of the number, and by that time she has won over the audience with her overall spirited, congenial performance.
Maggart never presses too hard. Her voice is pleasing, as are her interpretations, and throughout she has a relaxed demeanor. If she happens to momentarily forget a lyric, it doesn’t throw her. She uses the occasion to further connect with the crowd. Nor does she indulge in excess banter. On the opening night performance I attended, not until she had sung seven songs did she have anything to say. Until that point, she had let her music do the only talking.
She followed the theme song with ”Swinging on a Star,” “Luck be a Lady,” “I Wished on the Moon,” “I Wish It So,” “They All Laughed” and “Everybody Says Don’t.” That combination indicated the variety of what she can do, especially with a number like Marc Blitzstein’s “I Wish It So” and Stephen Sondheim’s tricky “Everybody Says Don’t.” Later she injected much tenderness into Sondheim’s “Anyone Can Whistle.”
Maggart scores with the purity she brings to each number, sometimes with a swinging beat, at other times in a mellow mood, but always beneath the surface is the impression that she is having fun with her choices. She gave a fresh lilt to “Pennies from Heaven,” as she did with “There Will Never Be Another You.”
In her comments Maggart stressed how fascinated she was with the work of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, and she placed them in historical musical perspective.
I have delighted in watching her series of appearances at the Algonquin, and note that she has gained in stage assurance to the point where she has mastered the art of making a performance look totally relaxed and easygoing even though the skill with which she sings so intimately would indicate how much work she has done on her repertoire.
Maggart performs with only her pianist John Boswell, therefore avoiding any competing backup that would compel her to abandon her soft, understated effectiveness. Her current four-week stint at the Oak Room offers cabaret connoisseurs the welcome opportunity for an enjoyable evening with Maude. At the Oak Room, Algonquin Hotel, 59 West 44th Street. Reservations: 212-419-9331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.