Aufbau - February 16, 2001
"Reflecting on Marlene," An Homage to Dietrich Sung by Elizabeth Hodes
The cabaret space at Judy's Chelsea is small and intimate -- there is little separation between the audience seated at the tables and the performers up front. And when that performer is the tall, glamorous and commanding singer Elizabeth Hodes, in her new homage to Marlene Dietrich titled Reflecting on Marlene, the viewer becomes part of her evocation of another, more elegant time. On stage or moving between the tables, the singer, clad in a clinging, black, sequined gown designed by Diane Specioso for occasional glimpses of a shapely leg, takes the audience back to the sophisticated ambiance of the supper clubs of the forties and fifties.
From APPLAUSE APPLAUSE! By Jan Wallman.
"This new work fulfills the promise of one-woman shows by the intriguing singer/actress, Elizabeth Hodes. "Reflecting on Marlene" is an exquisite evening of entertainment. Last seen at Judy's Chelsea to critical acclaim in her evening of Kurt Weill on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth, her show was far and away the best of the plethora of Kurt Weill Cabarets that we saw last year. Now, a year with another centennial, this one, the international star, Marlene Dietrich. Since Elizabeth Hodes, née Ingeborg Lotte Wullen's, started as a child of German immigrants, Elizabeth identified with Marlene's glamorous example. While she bears an uncanny resemblance to the beloved star, Ms. Hodes has chosen not to impersonate her idol but to present an homage to Dietrich in a program of songs she made famous.
The show began with the performer strolling into the room enveloped in a red and black feather boa, singing one of Dietrich's best-known songs "The Boys in the Backroom. " Later, when she had gained the stage, the boa came off to reveal a most beautiful gown, which could only be worn by a figure like Ms. Hodes or Miss Dietrich, absolutely slim but all woman. It had a decolte cut down to here and a skirt slit up to here and was designed by Diane Specioso.
At least half of the songs in the act, all popularized by Marlene Dietrich, were written by Frederick Hollander. Carter lnskeep, who also directed the Kurt Weill cabaret, cleverly wrote recitatives to the music of Hollander's 'One Wish"and used them as a device to turn the songs into a cohesive story. While Ms. Hodes was the shining star of this tribute, her collaborators, Carter Inskeep and John Bowen were her partners in the fullest sense. Michael Barbieri's lighting contributed to the theatricality of the production, from it's opening to it's closing "Just a Gigolo".
stopped making films in 1978 and retired from concert and nightclub stages,
so only a few of us in Ms. Hodes's audience had concrete memories of her.
In recreating these moments she thrilled the younger audience members
to whom Marlene Dietrich is only a name. When I was able to take my eyes
off Ms. Hodes's mesmerizing performance and look at the rapt faces of
the audience I thought, "This is star quality". I see this show
playing in many different venues. It is perfect i the intimate setting
of Judy's Chelsea but it could easily go to a larger club or concert hall
or off-Broadway theater. Elizabeth Hodes is such a rave and her show is
so captivating that I'd like to show her gifts to the world.