Stage Review

Tovah Feldshuh ''In a Nutshell'' (2008)

Tovah Feldshuh | TOVAH FELDSHUH ''In a Nutshell,'' more Gershwin, please!
TOVAH FELDSHUH ''In a Nutshell,'' more Gershwin, please!
EW's GRADE
B

Details Opening Date: Mar 04, 2008; Lead Performance: Tovah Feldshuh; Genre: Comedy

There's something about Tovah Feldshuh — oh, heck, let's just call her Tovah, like she tells us to do in her cabaret show's zippy opening number ''Call Me Tovah'' — that's instantly warm, welcoming, and invigorating. Perhaps it's the way at In a Nutshell she addresses us as ''my darlings.'' Or the look on her face as she deadpans: ''You are in the nutshell of my brain.'' Or the zest with which she careens through a motley crew of characters like foul-mouthed Sophie Tucker; a snooty subway-phobe; her Italian-accented voice teacher (a soprano who barks like a dog as a warm-up); and a baseball-cap-wearing street kid (there's a rap involved, and it's best left undiscussed). She's probably the first person to recite e.e. cummings' adulterous ode ''may i feel said he'' at Feinstein's at the Regency. (Poetry in a piano bar? Oy gevalt!) But Tovah is at her best when she's simply being herself — crooning a breathy, torchy ''That Old Black Magic,'' pouring her optimism into a tinkly ''On a Clear Day,'' channeling her father and her younger self for a Gershwin medley. ''Gershwin was the composer of choice in our house,'' she recalls, before launching into ''Of Thee I Sing,'' ''My One and Only,'' ''I Got Rhythm,'' and a host of other George and Ira gems. It's the highlight of the evening, and the best showcase for this petite powerhouse singer/actress. For her return Feinstein's engagement, may I suggest an all-Gershwin set? Oh, Tovah Be Good? Fascinating Tovah? Of Tovah We Sing? So many possibilities.... (212-339-4095 or feinsteinsattheregency.com) B

Originally posted Mar 07, 2008
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