Issue 622 : August 30, 2007 -
September 5, 2007
Top live shows
STEVE ROSS: GOOD THING
The Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel; Tue 4–Sept 15
Steve Ross got his start back in the days when Donna Summer
reigned and hordes groveled at the doorway of Studio 54.
But he was an anachronism: a tuxedoed, reedy-voiced Cole
Porter look-alike who conjured a vanished world of
cultivated manners, bons mots and deftly witty lyrics.
Seated at the piano, he sang Porter, Gershwin and Berlin
with high-flown polish, while revealing little.
Lately, however, he’s been letting down his guard. Ross now
uses his superb comic timing to poke fun at himself and the
era he adores; meanwhile, a newfound wistfulness has given
his work a moving third dimension. Previous shows found him
probing beneath the brittle glitz of Coward and Kander and
Ebb. Now, to kick off the Oak Room’s season, he’ll delve
into Stephen Sondheim, another Broadway wizard who proves
that virtuosity and heart can be uneasy bedmates. Count on
Ross to unite them.— James Gavin