DIVA TALK: Betty Buckley Soars at Feinstein's; Andrea Marcovicci Enchants at The Carlyle

By Andrew Gans
12 Oct 2012

Andrea Marcovicci

Andrea Marcovicci
That Andrea Marcovicci sure is a sly one.

The gifted chanteuse, who is making her Café Carlyle debut (through Oct. 27) after a record-breaking 25 years at the now-closed Algonquin's Oak Room, has titled her new show Smile, and from the moment she glides on stage strumming a ukulele—"Yes, you can laugh," she says—while singing "It's Only a Paper Moon" through renditions of such rarities as "Umbrella Man," "Mairzy Doats" and "Zing a Little Zong," Marcovicci implies the evening will simply be a string of feel-good ditties.

But don't let her fool you. Yes, Marcovicci displays an oversized, cherry-decorated teapot she inadvertently purchased on eBay before launching into a wonderful "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries," and yes, she digs up long-lost lyrics to "Ain't We Got Fun," but this dramatic performer is just getting ready to go in for the kill.

Indeed, just when you least expect it, she knocks you out with a Billy Mann and Alecia Moore gem entitled "Glitter in the Air." An ode to the feelings and insecurities that surface when love blossoms, Marcovicci invests herself so fully into this gorgeous song, about the moment "half past the point of no return," that she nearly stops the heart.

Andrea Marcovicci and Karen Akers at Marcovicci's Carlyle opening night.
photo by Matthew Eisman

Dressed to the nines for her Carlyle bow, Marcovicci was similarly beguiling with her reading of David Ross and Marshall Barer's "Beyond Compare," which wallows in the feelings that accompany true love. And, "Look at Those Eyes," a tune penned for the birth of her now-teenage daughter, was utterly touching.

Marcovicci also shines with the comedic "Shakespeare Lied," and her rendition of the evening's title tune did, indeed, bring a "Smile" to the many faces in the sold-out crowd.

It should also be noted that the cabaret favorite is a beautiful fit for the East Side boite. She remains as open-hearted and witty as ever, and it's hard to believe there is a room, theatre or, for that matter, any civilized land out there Marcovicci couldn't completely charm.

[Marcovicci, whose new CD "Smile" is now available, is accompanied by longtime musical director Shelly Markham on piano, Jered Egan on bass and Jack Cavari on guitar. For reservations call (212) 744-1600. For additional information visit thecarlyle.com. The Café Carlyle is located in The Carlyle Hotel, 35 E. 76th Street at Madison Avenue.]

Well, that's all for now. Happy diva-watching! E-mail questions or comments to agans@playbill.com.