From ONSTAGE by Maya T. Amis
Hodes sings with her entire body and soul placing utmost value on the
emotional depth and meaning of each song. Opening with the lovely "Lost
in the Stars," Hodes shows an understanding of the isolation contained
in this fragile fable. When she comes to "Mack the Knife, "
and especially "Pirate Jenny, " Hodes sings from the gut, fiercely
growling her challenge to the world. This is an exceptionally fine interpretation,
with no compromises. Hodes also proves herself adept at lighter fare,
as In her version of "'Saga of Jenny, "" which is just
plain fun, and her sensual and humorous, 'Touch of Venus, " sung
with a wink in her voice. A satisfying show, replete with better and lesser-known
songs and studded with interesting pieces of information about Weill."
From APPLAUSE APPLAUSE! By Jan Wallman.
In a year
when we are bound to be inundated by the work of Kurt Weill, this is the
show to see. The amazing Elizabeth Hodes, who could probably do anything,
has chosen to honor the centennial of the birth of Kurt Weill with this
collection of songs, which he wrote with Bertold Brecht in Germany and
five different lyricists on this side of the Atlantic.
and directed exquisitely by Carter Inskeep, it has just enough narration
to place the songs in the context of the musicals they're derived from
and the context of Weill's life. His success in Germany came to an abrupt
halt when he, as a Jew, was forced to flee the Nazis with Lotte Lenya,
his Aryan wife, who had become a star singing his songs in Berlin. Lenya
was a star here, but not to the extent that she had been in her homeland.
She preferred to take a back seat to her husband who's talents transcended
not only the language barrier but the different American musical styles
of Broadway and Hollywood.
is an actress-singer. Her approach is an actress's approach. Nothing is
short-changed musically. After all, this is the celebration of the work
of a composer who is one of our great 20'h Century melodists. Ms. Hodes'
singing voice couldn't be more perfect for these songs but one could imagine
her quite successfully speaking any of these lyrics as straight dramatic
theater pieces or poetry. I know of no other singer working today who
is as strong an interpreter of lyrics.
Two of the
lesser but very charming American songs that if we are lucky we will hear
more often, were a little medley of "Green- Up Time" and "Nowhere
To Go but Up. " These very up numbers were sung in a duet with her
pianist, Michael McFrederick. Mr. McFrederick is more than a pianist.
He's a musical director and arranger par excellence, and a very
important part of the act. Ms. Hodes is fortunate in both her collaborators.
Mr. McFrederick's dialogue and witty asides and Hodes' interactions, written
by Mr. Inskeep, move the pace along smartly. Michael Barbieri, technical
director must have enjoyed lighting the show' He used the opportunity
to contribute creatively to the drama.
I've seen Elizabeth Hodes, I guess I can stop moaning about the fact that
I never heard Lotte Lenya sing live and live happily ever after.
Once again, many many thanks for your splendid performance, here at the Y Senior Center, in "A Kurt Weill Cabaret." The entire program--content, music and movement, and overall showmanship--made for a magical afternoon that enthralled our members even as it challenged them.
I wish I'd kept track of all the enthusiastic comments I heard from the seniors, on not only your wonderful voice (ranging from "lyrical" to "powerful" to "thrilling") but also the intensity of feeling--joy and anguish alike--that you communicated to them so well. Your program is "theater" in the best sense--to be enjoyed for its art at the moment, and to be savored for the memories, emotions, and thoughts that it evokes long after. I guess you could say it was a hit!
As we plan our programming for the coming year, your flier on your varied shows will certainly be at the top of our resource file. I look forward to talking with you again, and booking another terrific program, soon.