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STAGE REVIEW

Speaking of Dreams

Maude Maggart | MAUDE MAGGART Practically irresistible in her new cabaret show Speaking of Dreams
MAUDE MAGGART Practically irresistible in her new cabaret show Speaking of Dreams
EW's GRADE
A-

Details Lead Performance: Maude Maggart

When someone asks the inevitable question ''So who is Maude Maggart?'' neither easy answer (''Fiona Apple's sister'' or ''the best young cabaret singer working today'') does her justice. Her CDs are swell — they capture her admirable range, her devotion to the Great American Songbook, her impeccable phrasing — but in person she's practically irresistible. (And I'm not saying that just because she kissed my mother on the cheek during ''Dream a Little Dream.'') In Speaking of Dreams, her new show at the Oak Room in New York City's historic Algonquin Hotel, Maggart puts her own simple, unadorned spin on a host of songs that could, in lesser, unpracticed hands, turn the stomach of even the most cockeyed optimist. You may think the last thing you need is another rendition of ''Over the Rainbow,'' but think again. (''Rainbow'' is one spot where you'll especially appreciate her musicians, pianist Lanny Meyers and guitarist/cellist Yair Envine.) And after she has her way with ''When You Wish Upon a Star,'' well, you'll never look at Jiminy Cricket the same way. Which brings us to another number made famous by a pint-size green guy: ''The Rainbow Connection.'' Maggart's version is more melodic than the original, but the nostalgic sighs and tearful smiles she elicits would surely make Kermit the frog proud. (Reservations: 212-419-9331) A-

Originally posted Apr 17, 2008