From Cabaret Scenes by Keith Meritz
La Musique de Piaf at Don't Tell Mama is not yet another cabaret performer attempting to impersonate the legendary Edith Piaf Rather this is a performance by a singer who, years ago experienced Piaf's performances in Paris and now is paying her a respectful tribute. Ms Hodes, with the tall, slim silhouette of an ex-ballet dancer, certainly could not project the physical image of the 'Little Sparrow." And although her voice has aged into earthy tones well suited to the range of Piaf's music, she does not attempt to mimic her voice, a challenge that many afficionados of Piaf's music would view as sacrilege. More appropriately, she effectively provides a mood, an emotional expression of Piaf.
This is an intelligent well-researched production providing insight into the varied influences in the complex life of the woman also known as the "Sacred Monster." From her diminutive womanizing acrobat of a father to her seductive Gypsy mother who raised her in a brothel... from the street life of Paris to her successes and tragedies in love and the loss of her child, this show provides a view into Piaf's life as represented in her music. The sad desperation in the life and the music is balanced with unyielding optimism by Piaf's motto of a song, "Non, je ne Regrette Rien".
From Bistro Bits By Martin Schaeffer
Anyone who attended Elizabeth Hodes' excellent show, "La Musique de Piaf," at Don't Tell Mama and expected to hear a true recreation of that great singer's voice would have left sorely disappointed. But if you went hoping to learn a bit of the drama and soul which sculpted so much of Piaf's performance style as well as her songs, you would have been royally rewarded.
Through an excellent script and her fine acting abilities, Hodes created the very texture of the French chanteuse. From a childhood growing up in brothels, to her unhappy affairs with men, to the use these unscrupulous men made of both talent, soul and body, Hodes' show casts an illuminating light on the life of one of cabaret's seminal personalities.
has a deep love for the material which she performs. She's properly saucy
in "Milord," tragic in "Hymne a L'Amour, " and "L'Accordeoniste,"
and downright funny in "L'Homme a La Moto." There's no tragic
heroine to this show. Rather, Hodes gives us a well-drawn portrait of
a lonely woman, searching for love but with a great capacity for life
and fun. High marks must also go to Carter lnskeep for his staging and
special material and to Michael McFrederick's musical direction.
This letter is to thank you for the unbelievable performance you presented to the Alliance Frangaise de Knoxville a couple of days ago at the McClung Theater on the University of Tennessee Campus. I am still receiving calls about it. Did you realize that almost 300 people attended? I was pleasantly surprised to see so many high school students in attendance with their teachers and could not believe how many members of the theater were also there. I knew the European community would enjoy the program but had no idea Piaf had so many followers among Americans! The theater has already called me and asked to be included again in your next tour.
You program was magical! We were suddenly transported back in time and the "Little Sparrow" mesmerized us again, poignant, tragic, triumphant, just as she did in the years of my youth. What a great evening you brought to Knoxville, thank you again. We cannot wait until you are ready with your next program, but would also like to see the Fred Astaire you do. Some friends of mine at Miami's Alliance have told me how popular it is with their members and audience.
On a more personal note, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and Stuart and know we will meet again on your next tour "Down South."