Shaking the Blues Away

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joan122809One can expect fine work from Joan Curto these days, but in Shaking the Blues Away, Curto flexes her cabaret muscles in new ways and it pays off. First, Curto stepped outside the box performing numbers not part of the Great American Songbook. If it’s something of a stretch to place Julie Gold’s “Good Night, New York” into a show focused on discovering, then overcoming, love and money blues, we don’t much care. In this song, Curto makes the richest emotional connection with her audience, finding delicate layers of hope and remembrance Gold’s lyrics encompass. With Lyle Lovett’s “God Will,” Curto shares a funny, true reflection of a relationship gone south in which the spurned lover will not forgive, although God will. Second, more than in prior shows, Curto shared some personal history. Cole Porter’s “I’m Unlucky at Gambling” resonated because it was preceded by a reflection about an uncle who was a professional gambler beset with economic ups and downs. Later in the show, when she talked about roller skating in her cigarette-girl costume at the roller rink Halloween party, we could relate to memories encompassing both the silly and the dear. Curto sings great and looks great in the green gown. To quote Elvis, “I’m all shook up.”

Carla Gordon
Cabaret Scenes
November 30, 2009
http://www.cabaretscenes.org