It may never be too late to fulfill a dream, as Arlene Wolff demonstrated in a career reprise at Stage 22/Triad on November 21. What may seem like a lifetime ago, working under the name of Arlene Blaine, she was a nightclub singer in venues in the United States and Europe. But then she turned to the political stage as an assistant to New York Mayor Abraham Beame, a position that involved her meeting with the famous, starting street fairs, involving herself in the Tall Ships event in New York Harbor on the occasion of the Bicentennial observance in 1976 and become a city celebrity. But she always nursed the dream of singing again.
Now, here she was on a cabaret stage, backed by excellent musicians Ian Herman, musical director and pianist, Howie Gordon on drums and Dave Dunaway on bass, and presenting a full two-act show titled “Arlene Wolff, More Than You Know...,” directed by Scott Siegel.
Wolff led with her appealing personality, sense of humor and good timing. Demonstrating a voice that could flash power even if wasn’t the voice she must have had back in her former cabaret days. Her repertoire was wide-ranging, encompassing such diverse numbers as “Blue in the Night” and “Besame Mucho,” and she displayed a perky sense of rhythm.
Wolff was especially amusing when in recounting her life story, she tied songs to her romantic experiences and marriages. Referring to husband number one and the subsequent divorce, she sang “Falling in Love with Love.” Husband number two was honored with “Mean to Me.” For husband number three it was “Why Don’t You Do Right?”
She was droll recounting her strategy for making a man she had targeted notice her. Despite the marital failures, all’s well that ends well. In the audience was Mickey Schwartz, whom she described in the program as “My husband and the love of my life,” and she honored their long-time marriage by singing “More Than You Know” directly to him.
Her extensive song list also included, for example, “Day In, Day Out,” “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Autumn in New York,” “ “Blue Skies,” “That’s Life,” and as an encore, “With a Song in My Heart.”
Wolff is ultra slim, and audience members may have speculated on her age as she stood up there seeking to recapture the aura of the pro she once was and looking as if she were having a great time telling her stories and singing her heart out anew. Dreams sometimes do come true. At Stage 72/Triad, 158 West 72nd Street, 2nd Floor. Reviewed November 22, 2015.