Tom Rolla’s Gardenia, West Hollywood, CA, April 30, 2016
Reviewed by Elliot Zwiebach for Cabaret Scenes
Marsha-Bartenetti-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Marsha Bartenetti is an evocative singer with a smooth, silky voice and the ability to charm an audience with her easy-going manner and on-point delivery.
In a show about the vicissitudes of love, she was particularly effective on tender ballads, offering a gentle, thoughtful “You Go to My Head” (J. Fred Coots/Haven Gillespie), a sweet, measured, believable “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (Mike Reid/Alan Shamblin), and a simple, lovely “As Time Goes By” (Herman Hupfeld).
But she was also totally in control on up-tempos, with an effective, effortless arrangement of “Them There Eyes” (Maceo Pinkard/Doris Tauber/William Tracy) and an enthusiastic “I Love Being Here with You” (Peggy Lee/Dave Cavanaugh) that demonstrated her utter joy in singing.
Bartenetti got tremendous support throughout the evening on piano from Musical Director Steve Rawlins, whose excellent arrangements gave the singer plenty of room to showcase her voice.
In a fast-moving show with succinct, effective patter, Bartenetti moved through the various stages of love, from a coquettish “When I Fall in Love” (Victor Young/Edward Heyman) to a reflective “Ten Cents a Dance” (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart) to a solid, sultry “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” (Gerry Goffin/Carole King) to a warm version of “Orange Colored Sky” (Milton DeLugg/Willie Stein). There was also a definitive version of “I’ve Never Been to Me” (Kenneth Hirsch/Ron Miller), which Bartenetti acknowledged she recorded right before another version by singer Charlene became a number 1 hit.
She closed the show by directing a love letter to the audience in general and her husband specifically — a soft, sultry “But Beautiful” (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke) that was … beautiful, no buts about it.