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Issue 599 : March 22, 2007 - March 28, 2007

Top live show
Gay Marshall Is Alive and Well and Singing at the Zipper

Zipper Theater; Thu 22


Zipper Theater’s recent revival of
Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris turned up a heart-tugging discovery: Gay Marshall, a weathered waif with tumbling brown hair and a stubbornly good-humored voice. She lit up Brel’s ghostly world, where people howl in desperation and grovel through the mud for love. Marshall stole the reviews—of the four stars, she alone sounded as though she’d roamed through Brel’s sordid seaports and gin mills. She hadn’t, but she knows the terrain: In 1987, the Cleveland-born singer-actor left the States for Paris and a French husband. The year before, Marshall had appeared on Broadway in A Chorus Line (she sang “Nothing” and “What I Did for Love”); from there she brought her touching optimism to the part of Grizabella in the Paris production of Cats.

For those who wished that Jacques Brel had been a Gay Marshall concert, here’s good news: This Thursday the Zipper will host the Manhattan debut of her solo evening, various versions of which have charmed audiences from France to Missouri. Marshall will dip into her past shows—
Piaf: La vie, l’amour and If I Were Me, and reprise her Brel showstoppers. Along the way she’ll explore her life’s challenge: How can an American songbird find a place among the notoriously testy French while not vanishing from everyone’s mind back home? She needn’t worry about the latter; one can only hope this expatriate jewel will spend more time here, where she belongs. — James Gavin