Having been noticed for her previous cabaret debut that she had to courage to undertake at her proudly announced age of 80, Janet Jacobs was back at Don’t Tell Mama (May 11 and 18, 2011) with an encore new show, this time titled “Lost & Found: Love in All Its Guises and Disguises.” Her previous show was titled “A Life Well Sung,” in which she ranged through her life’s experience with songs that were illustrative. This time she chose well to come up with an eclectic group of songs that communicated her feelings about love.
Late in the show I attended (May 18), she shared with her audience feelings that were deeply personal. Jacobs turned her attention to Ted Fine seated at a table close to the stage and after an anecdote about sitting on a plane next to a man “who didn’t want to talk to me,” she sang to that man, Fine, who became her husband. The number was “Just in Time,” by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and Jacobs poured plenty of feeling into it. Fine beamed.
Jacobs appeared spiffy in a black top anointed with a black and white decorative flower, and wearing a loosely arranged white tie and white pants. She certainly doesn’t look--or sound--her age.
In addition to her concentration on songs of love, she showed her humorous side too, as reflected in some of her introductions, as well as in the novelty song “I Said No,” by Frank Loesser nd Jule Styne, a teasing number that sounds like a description of a sexy seduction, but ends with a surprise. She also had fun with “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?”
But mostly she adhered to the love theme with such numbers as “Almost Like Being in Love,” “As Time Goes By,” “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” “The Boy Next Door,” “Secret Love” and “I Got Lost in His Arms.”
For two numbers, “I Know Where I’m Going” and “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” Jacobs was accompanied by violinist Yi Wei. The program was directed by Collette Black, with Norma Jean Curley the musical director and pianist.
Jacobs infused her delivery with a mellow mood that was clearly meant to convey how one may feel about love, “in all its guises and disguises,” as in the show’s title. I did like it when she went a bit up tempo with Cole Porter’s “I’m Always True To You Darling In My Fashion.” I think spacing more up tempo interpretations among her choices would go further to express Jacobs’s high-spirited personality.
Now, with two shows under her belt, I’m sure she is already thinking of another theme for a next outing. Stay tuned. Reviewed at Don’t Tell Mama, 343 West 46th Street. Phone: 212-757-0788.