By Tom Alvarez, Indianapolis Performing Arts Examiner
December 17, 2011
Mae West, Barbra Streisand, Angela Lansbury, Katharine Hepburn and Liza Minnelli were just a few of the iconic Broadway and Hollywood ladies making an appearance Thursday when singer, comedienne and impressionist extraordinaire Christine Pedi began a three-day engagement ofThere’s No Bizness Like Snow Bizness at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club. There is a 2:30 p.m. matinee this afternoon and the show closes tonight with a 7:30 p.m. performance.
Pedi, who has appeared on Broadway and at some of New York City’s top cabaret venues, made her name in Forbidden Broadway and Forbidden Hollywood. She also is well-known for her stint as host of The Broadway Breakfast on Sirius XM Radio. Currently she also is appearing off-Broadway in bothNewsical: The Musical and Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating and Marriage.
The wickedly funny Pedi, accompanied by her music director and fine pianist Matthew Ward, not only demonstrated her extraordinary gift for mimicry through her impersonations, but also showcased her own artistry, style and substantial vocal skills during those songs when she performed as herself.
Pedi set the tone for her highly entertaining show during introductory remarks when she good-naturedly detailed the circuitous route and comedy of errors (that began with a missed plane flight) that took her and Ward to three different cities before they finally arrived in Indianapolis the day of the show.
Remarking about how happy she was to be there, Pedi complimented both the Cabaret’s Columbia Club venue and the adjacent Soldiers and Sailors Monument, decorated for the holidays, which she compared favorably to the Christmas tree in New York’s Rockefeller Center.
Her program included unique arrangements of such holiday favorites as Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow, Merry Little Christmas, All I Want for Christmas and Deck the Halls. Also featured were two songs that spoofed the Occupy Wall Street protest and Oprah, respectively.
During two segments that featured celebrity-sung carols, the Bronx native paid affectionate yet hilarious tribute to Cher in It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Bette Davis in Hark the Herald, Judy Garland in Mele Kelikimaka, Charo in All I Want for Christmas, Joan Rivers in Oh Tannenbaum and even Sarah Palin in Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.
Pedi closed the show with a demonstration of her unmatched impersonation skills again when she sang 12 Divas (to the The Twelve Days of Christmas). Cabaret staff member Anne Miller was sent into the audience with a microphone and a gift bag containing names of divas. After each name was drawn and announced by audience members, Pedi sang each stanza of the song in character.
Exhibiting her knack for seamless transition, Pedi sang the entire song while impersonating Julie Andrews, Eartha Kitt, Elaine Stritch, Angela Lansbury, Carol Channing, Bette Davis, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, Katharine Hepburn and Joan Rivers. Then, like in the original song, and to the amazement of the audience, she sang the stanzas with characterizations in reverse.
Not only did Pedi capture the vocal quality of each performer, she also mirrored their mannerisms, idiosyncrasies and their very essence as well. It was a tour de force performance by a rare talent.
For tickets and information about Saturday’s performance of There’s No Bizness Like Snow Bizness, call the Cabaret at the Columbia Club (317) 275-1169 or visit www.thecabaret.org.
Click here to read the full review.
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