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Divalicious: Ann Hampton Calloway & Amanda McBroom

Divalicious – Ann Hampton Calloway & Amanda McBroom
Venetian Room, San Francisco, CA, October 8, 2017

Bay Area Cabaret presented two fine singer/songwriters for the 2nd show of their 2017/18 season; Ann Hampton Calloway and Amanda McBroom. Each star can carry a show individually, and it was an inspired idea to blend their considerable skills into one event, backed by musical director/songwriter Michele Brourman on piano.

Calloway’s songs have been recorded by an elite group of musicians, including Barbara Streisand who used Calloway’s “I’ve Dreamed of You” as her wedding song. Ann performed that number as well as a jazzy rendition of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s “All the Things You Are” (with some exceptional bebop scat). “Finding Beauty” from her 2009 At Last CD displays her smooth jazz/pop sensibilities coupled with her impeccable phrasing and vibrant vocals.

Ann Hampton Calloway

Amanda McBroom, who soared to fame with 1979’s “The Rose”, is a remarkable songwriter who weaves intricate portraits through her lyrics and heartfelt deliveries. Songs like “Old Love”, a simple story of old classmates who meet decades later and fall in love, are pure magic. “Wheels”, based on a photo of a long-forgotten Hollywood ingénue holding a picture of herself in her youth, is classic McBroom. The wheels are the toys, the baby stroller, a shiny new Cadillac and eventually a bag lady’s shopping cart that symbolize a woman’s movement through life. The song moves and flows with freedom of life and draws you into this person’s life of happiness and regrets. Jacques Brel’s “Carousel”, a singer’s nightmare of speed and vocal dexterity, received a standing ovation.

Amanda McBroom

The ladies, who project a genuine friendship and mutual admiration, performed a tribute to lyricist Dorothy Fields including “Sunnyside of the Street” (w/ Jimmy McHugh), “The Way You Look Tonight” (w/ Jerome Kern) and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” (w/ Jimmy McHugh).  Michele Brourman got into the act, performing the comic “You’re only Old Once”, co-written by McBroom and herself.

Michele Brourman

The evening came to a close with Ann Hampton Calloway singing a tune she co-wrote with Michele, the romantic anthem “Love and Let Love” and of course, McBroom’s signature tune “The Rose” (with background vocals by Michele and Ann). Ann and Amanda have been touring with this show since last year and their comfort and ease with each other is palpable. Two giants of cabaret for the price of one? Such a deal.