In her show “Piece of Meat” at 54 Below (June 17 with selected other performance dates through June 29, 2013)) Sherie Rene Scott muses about her takes on life, including the abandoning of her vegetarianism for the appeal of meat. She even hints that the Dalai Lama also shares her new-found enthusiasm for the world of beef. Of course, her philosophical inclinatons are also expressed through song.
Scott has charmed audiences with her stage performances in her show “Everyday Rapture” and in the musicals “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” among others. In her nightclub performance she starts slow and easy, establishing an understated presence, cemented by the casual style of her remarks, but builds with forceful climaxes when letting her voice and lyric interpretations peak.
Her theme of love and loss resonates with the ideas of when to hold on and when to let go. She sings of “fun, fun, fun” and “love, love, love.” There is considerable chatter about wanting three things in life, but not being able to have them all at the same time. I particularly liked her very original take on the number “Are You Havin’ Any Fun?” by Sammy Fain and Jack Yellin. I’ve never heard anyone do that number the way she does.
Scott has long been enamored of Paul McCartney, whose song “Another Day” is a favorite. She goes through a whole bit in which he is phoning her (courtesy of her pianist and musical director Todd Almond). Is this gambit too much? The audience appeared to enjoy it on the night I attended.
Another number Scott digs is “Honestly” by Annie Lennox. Throughout her repertoire she gets strong backing by Almond, Alana Dawes on bass and Levy Lorenzo on elaborate percussion and vibes. Her director is Lear DeBessonet, her choreographer Michael Lynch.
Scott is extremely attractive, and moves well, as when she strides onto a long front table to get closer to her audience and flaunt some extra pizzazz. Her performance becomes one of a piece, a mix of song and comment. I especially enjoyed her remark: “My husband is Jewish but I’m not Jewish by conversion. I’m Jewish by assertion.” At 54 Below, 254 West 54th Street. Phone: 646-476-3551. Reviewed June 20, 2013.