In the world premiere of Anne Steele’s cabaret act – Strings Attached – we can clearly hear why she was named winner in the first “MetroStar Talent Challenge” – prevailing over an initial pool of 70 contestants in the 7-week jury and audience-voted elimination-round competition, produced and hosted by the Metropolitan Room.
This is the best show I’ve ever seen at the Metropolitan Room. No one comes close to the incredible talent Anne Steele displays. She is an original. With an original act. With a voice that is pure and powerful and poignant. She is truly special and someone that has a fabulous future ahead of her. If this is the beginning, watch out world, who knows what Anne Steele is going to accomplish. She’s got a great look and is secure enough with herself and who she is that you just go along with her whatever she sings.
There are some evenings when I just do not feel like seeing someone new, singing a collection of songs that I am not that familiar with. But let me tell you – I was totally floored by Anne Steele. She is unique. Mixing songs by Queen, Bob Dylan, Duffy, Cat Stevens, Pink and Charlie Chaplin side by side with Sondheim takes a whole lot of courage, creativity and talent to pull off.
On top of which she is accompanied by her musical director and arranger Kenny Davidsen on piano, a back up vocalist Liz Lark Brown and a string quartet: Sean Harkness, guitar, Kathryn Andersen, violin, Matt Zalkind, cello; Taylor Hollyer, bass – hence the title of her show – Strings Attached. It is an incredible mix that makes for an absolutely new and distinctive cabaret sound.
Anne Steele has perfect phrasing, a naturalness, an exuberance and that all important “like-ability” factor. She sticks to singing – what she does best. Although she does talk a bit between songs, it is kept short. She is quick witted with an understated charisma and has chosen a collection of beautiful songs to showcase her range as a singer and abilities as an actress.
Sultry, cool and confident she makes you feel all the love in her songs. From her opening “Don’t Stop Me Now” (no one could or should) to her melancholy version of “Tennessee Waltz” to “Indiana” where she wonders aloud what it would be like to be famous (she’ll know soon enough) to a fabulous “I Want You Back” to the Beatle’s “Here, There and Everywhere” to a very toxic “Toxic” to Sondheim’s “Move On” each and every number has been meticulously arranged to offer up a program that amuses and astonishes and bewitches.
Anne Steele is someone to keep on your radar.