With her powerful voice, with her expressive eyes and hands, with her extraordinary range, with her wonderful flair for comedy, with her ability to touch your heart, Natalie Toro took the Metropolitan Room by storm in her new cabaret show which includes five songs from her most recent, very impressive CD – Natalie Toro, of which I wrote –“It’s rare that one listens to a new CD and the voice that you hear captures your attention immediately”. True. But to see her in action, in person is a whole new revelation. When a singer can evoke complete silence in the Metropolitan Room you know how special that singer is.
Natalie Toro’s show is a smorgasbord of show tunes seen in a new light “A Boy Like That” where Natalie sings both Anita and Maria, and in one case a new language, Cabaret (en espanol) – some pop “Rainy Days and Mondays” – some Sondheim and Streisand “and everything in-between” – power ballads and songs that showcase her softer side.
Natalie is a proud Puerto Rican from the Bronx and her Puerto Rican fiery heritage roars forth whenever called for – which is often. Her opening number “Here I Am” gets the evening off to a fine start, setting the tone for what follows beautifully. I’m a sticker for selection and sequence and Natalie gets an A-plus in both departments.
In her second number “A Wink and A Smile” she sings “this is where I belong” – She sure got that right. Natalie belongs up on that stage. Any stage. Singing her heart out and connecting with her audience on many levels. She talks. And talks. And her terrific pianist, John DiPinto cleverly gets her back on track by cuing her next number. It’s a great running gag.
As her alter ego – Googie – Natalie dons false eyelashes and blonde wig from a make-up case to sing an hysterical “Possibilities” and carries on with some very clever quips. She becomes an entirely different person. The immediate transformation is incredible. And lots of fun. Switching gears completely she sings “Where Is It Written”. Not many singers can sing a tune so associated with Streisand and make it their own. Natalie did. She inhabits each character, imbuing them with their own individual life. She lives in the moment and it is a pleasure to watch and listen to.
Her duet with Maureen Moore “Get Happy/Happy Days” – another Streisand classic duet with Judy Garland was simply sensational. But my favorite was her finale – “Time Heals Everything” – a passionate, powerful and touching rendition.
To appease the audience’s massive explosion of applause Natalie encored with “Over the Rainbow” When she sang, ” If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why oh why can’t I?” the longing was heartfelt and oh so strong. Don’t worry Natalie you did more than fly, you soared!
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