Cabaret Interview: Amanda McBroom sings of true love at her Café Carlyle show ‘A Valentine Rose’

Through February 9, 2013

A clear voice in the wintry night. A warm glow of friendship and permanence permeating the Cafe Carlyle. Friends are in the audience to hear Amanda McBroom.

Fans, too. “I can take your picture with her,” says a friend of hers sitting next to me at the bar, singer Sarah Boone, when she spots my camera.

I am here to hear the singer-songwriter-actress and writer of “The Rose” in her element, close-up in this most personal and elegant of venues. And to pause for these few moments at the end of yet another busy, lurid day to reflect on love, valentines, the Cafe Carlyle and the sophisticated clarity of Amanda McBroom.

Her voice that is smooth, forever. Her insights as a songwriter are wise and fresh in matters of the heart.

Together with Musical Director: Michele Brourman and Dan Fabricant on Bass, the evening delves into the subject of romance through carefully chosen and artfully blended classics, many of them McBroom’s:

“Hot In Here” – Amanda McBroom/Michele Brourman
“Old Love” – Amanda McBroom/Michele Brourman
“I’ve Got You Under My Skin” – Cole Porter
“If The Stars Were Mine” – Madelyn Gardot
“Flexible Man” – David Cantor
“12th Of Never” – Paul Francis Webster/Jerry Livingston
“Beautiful Mistake” – Amanda McBroom/ John Bucchino
“Titania” – Amanda McBroom/Michele Brourman
“My Favorite Year” – Michele McBroom/Karen Gottlieb
“The Way You Look Tonight” – Dorothy Fields/Jerome Kern
“Dance” – Amanda McBroom
“Tender Trap” – Jimmy Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn
“”Errol Flynn – Amanda McBroom/Gordon Hunt
“Marieke” – Jacques Brel
“The Rose” – Amanda McBroom
“My Funny Valentine” – Richard Rogers/Lorenz Hart
“Just In Case” – Amanda McBroom

Amanda’s obvious delight at being at the cafe included her genuine happiness that her old friend and inspiration Judy Collins was in the house.

What a treat for all to hear the writer of the classic “The Rose” share her thoughts on love in her show “A Valentine Rose.”

Happily, I had a chance to ask her a few questions about love, life, the show at the Cafe Carlyle and her future plans.

How did you put together show about a holiday that focuses on one of the main themes of song?

Amanda: “Since one of my favorite holidays, valentine’s day, is approaching, we were asked to  create a program that had romance in the theme. ( that had to be my major in college!)I Am nothing if not a die-hard romantic. And knowing that we would be in the most glamorous venue in the world, hopefully filled with elegant people who listen in several languages, i decided to  make it an evening of standards that are comfortable to ears that haven’t heard me before, and what i call “amandards”, which are my own favorite songs  about passion and romance.”

What did you do to prepare for a Valentine’s program. It’s called a “A Valentine’s Rose,” why that name?

Amanda: “Valentine’s for the holiday, “rose” because of my song “The Rose.” I’m hoping to tap into  the romantic yearnings of listeners.”

Are you the rose?

Amanda: “I wouldn’t say I am “The Rose,” but i did write it. It is my philosophy.”

The evening, as the holiday, is fraught with anticipation and ritual. Can you reflect a bit about it’s importance to you as a performer, and if you would like, as a person?

Amanda: “I know Valentine’s Day was invented by someone from  Hallmark cards, but I feel it is important for us to recall human connection, to  concentrate for at least one day on love between people, romantic or otherwise. When so much of what is in the world of music these days is about the body, I feel a day to celebrate the heart is essential.”

Do you have a single favorite song as a listener and also as a performer?

Amanda: “Ooh! Tough one!  It varies from day to day…MAYBE…minute to minute. But at this very moment, John Bucchino’s song “Grateful” springs to mind.

As a performer, anything by Jacques Brel is up there at the top of the list. “Ne Me Quitte Pas” I guess. I have yet to tackle The Eagles, my favorite writing team.”

What do you consider to be your major influences and also the pivotal moments in your career?

Amanda: “Major influence…Judy Collins, Jacques Brel, Rogers and Hammerstein, my parents and my husband George Ball, who is one of the world’s great singers.

What do you consider to be the pivotal moments in your career?

Amanda: “The writing of “The Rose”…Performing it on both the Grammys and the Golden Globes… and, of course, singing at the Carlyle!!! A dream come true.”

What do you consider your “big break”?

Amanda: “The song “The Rose” being incorporated into the film, “The Rose.” That turned me from being just an actress into a legitimate songwriter, as well as an actress.”

Who is your favorite singer to listen to?

Amanda: “I can’t do just one! Jacques Brel, Don Henley, Kathleen Battle,  Ann Hampton and Liz Callaway (the violin and the cello of contemporary singing).”

Where are you going next, what are the big events for you going forward?

Amanda: “I am going next to Richmond, Virginia, for a series of concerts. As for what the world holds in store … As long as my pantyhose are clean, I am ready for anything!”

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