Marie Michuda teaches in the Voice, Opera and Musical Theater Department of Chicago's Northwestern University. Although billed as singing in the cabaret style, to me, this album comes across as a recital by a good musical comedy and operetta singer. Her maiden album, not surprisingly, is pretty much stays with selections from well known and no so well-known Broadway musicals. Some of the choices from the more familiar musicals are not always among the show's more popular tunes. Most cabaret singers with which I'm familiar while not using the tools of vocal jazz (e.g., scatting), at least often come across as jazzy. Not so here. This album is more in line with something a Deanna Durbin, Kathryn Grayson or Barbra Streisand would put their name to. This is not bad company, but none of them is a cabaret singer in the tradition of a Mabel Mercer or Elisabeth Welch. After putting this album into proper stylistic perspective, there are good things here. Ms Michuda certainly has an attractive voice, although it tends to get thin on higher notes. "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" from Kismet is an over dubbed duet with herself. Funny Girl's "People", and another Kismet tune, "And This Is My Beloved", are attractively presented. The poignant, hopeful and defiant "Many a New Day" suffers from comparison with Shirley Jones' incomparable version from the movie's original cast recording of Oklahoma. One of the more well down tracks is "Will There Really Be a Morning ", an Emily Dickinson poem put to music by Ricky Ian Gordon. On "Second Hand Rose" Ms Michuda adopts the New York lower east side accent favored by Fanny Brice when she introduced it in the Ziegfield Follies of 1921 which Streisand reprised in Funny Girl.
Aside from being a bit bombastic every now and then, Russ Long's piano is appropriately in synch with the music and Michuda's approach to it. Bassist Mark Beringer and drummer Mark Ott are barely heard, as they are overwhelmed by both Michuda and Long and apparently a bad mike location.
This album is for those who enjoy selections from the musical stage delivered by a talented teacher with a pleasing voice.
Tracks:It's a Grand Night for Singing;People;Don't Rain on My Parade;The Music That Makes Me Dance;Second Hand Rose;Loving You;I Wish I Were in Love Again; Baubles, Bangles and Beads;And This Is My Beloved;Many a New Day;Will There Really Be A Morning?;Another Hundred People;The Promise;Children of the Wind;Lonely Goatherd;The Story Goes On
PersonnelMarie Michuda - Vocal; Russ Long - Piano; Mark Beringer - Bass; Mark Ott - Drums