Sunday, September 20, 2009

CABARET review - Katherine Hopkins Nicholas

Linda Hopkins payed Katherine Hopkins Nicholas a surprise visit for dinner after the show.
(l to r-below: Betty Garrett, Jane Kean, Katherine Hopkins Nicholas, Carol Lawrence and Don Grigware) (Photo credit: Craig Calman)

Lovely Katherine Hopkins Nicholas performed her nostalgic solo evening @ Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's on Sunday, September 20 to exciting audience acclaim. What a memorable and exhilarating walk down memory lane with this singular beauty who sings, taps and entertains as well as she did in 1978! It was '78 when Mrs. Nicholas, married to the late great dancing MGM star Fayard Nicholas of The Nicholas Brothers fame, costarred with Ann Miller and Mickey Rooney in Sugar Babies. Nicholas has talent to spare and is a real charmer. When she started her set with "Make Someone Happy", she instantly warmed the intimate crowd.
She interspersed songs with quaint stories of her varied career (performed with acrobats at one point, balancing a derby hat on her nose? Funny!) and threw in an occasional tap dance, displaying incredible energy, skill and showmanship.
Highlights of the evening included: "Chattanooga Choo Choo", "Come Rain or Come Shine" from the Nicholas Brothers' 1946 Broadway smash St. Louis Woman, a fun Marlene salute with top hat, a sublimely sexy "Oh, Do It Again", "Good Man" in tribute to Linda Hopkins as Bessie Smith, "La Vie en Rose", another tribute, this time to Josephine Baker, and a stimulating Jimmy McHugh medley from Sugar Babies including "Don't Blame Me"-Nicholas let her emotional instrument carry her away on this one, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love", "Shooting High", "Maggie Blues", "Sunny Side of the Street" and "Banjo Man".
Toward the end Nicholas introduced three legendary ladies/friends in the audience: Carol Lawrence, the original Maria in West Side Story, who replaced Ann Miller in Sugar Babies when Miller was out for foot surgery - Lawrence had but one week to rehearse and learn the routines, which she did brilliantly; glamorous Francine York, who served as bridesmaid to Nicholas in her marriage to Fayard; and the one and only musical comic actress Betty Garrett. (See photo above)
Dynamo pianist Ron Snyder served magnificently as musical director for a truly charming evening that ended with "Smile", "I Love to Spend Each Evening with You" and the splendid encore "As Long As He Needs Me".
Nicholas is one of a dying breed of cabaret performers whose heart and soul is into the great standards and composers of the past. She loves the music, loves entertaining, period and this translates to a thoroughly enjoyable evening for all within her illuminating reach.


Blogger Jim said...

Thanks Don for the wonderful review. I thought Katherine was
terrific and was so pleased that
she packed the house. Thanks for
all that you do - Gratefully,
Jim Taylor,
Hollywood Rep.-Int'l. Tap Ass'n.

September 25, 2009 9:56 PM  

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