Reposted by Tulis McCall

This is a re-post of a review I wrote back in June.  Leanne Borghesi is returning to Don’t Tell Mama – and this is a show not to miss.  September 10 – and here is your LINK!

Leanne Borghesi’s explosion of talent and flat-out happiness is EXACTLY what you need right now.  Hell, we all need it.

Here is the deal – it doesn’t matter what story Leanne Borghesi tells or what tale she spins – none of that matters. She could knit a sweater while she is up there, or clean out a toaster over, and we would still be glued to her.

“Some people are born into show business,” she tells us, “and others just bust right through.”

Borghesi is of the latter sort.  She busts through any malaise, any reservation, any measure of ho-hum you might be carrying around and blows it to the sky.  She sweeps you up into an embrace that would reduce even Scrooge to a giggling bowl of Jell-O.  She is a perfect combination of sarcasm and joie de vive that New York needs right this very minute.

Clothed from head to toe in a red sequined dress, Borghesi glows – and may I just say that, second only to the dress and the personality of the gal in it, her lipstick is also red and sparkly and never NEVER rubs off.  Talk about magic.

I seem to have been the only person in the room at Don’t Tell Mama who had never seen or heard of Ms. Borghesi – and that was okay with me because I got to experience the experience with no expectactions.  What better way to be bowled over?

Photo by Stephen Mosher

Borghesi bursts onto the stage, fresh from a utility closet from where she was intending to do the show. So strong is the stage’s grip on her, however, that she is nearly catapulted into our presence as she flees the appliances to deliver Together In One Place (Rowe/Cann).  After the welcoming applause dies down – and that takes a while because she is salivating over us and we over her – Borghesi begins her Pandemic Tale.  It is a tale of grand proportion covering several states and two countries.

Reno Nevada suited her fine, and the audiences were at her feet until everything went south because “You know who” (and we don’t) showed up.  This disaster prompted her to leave town for what would become an epic journey.  Nobody Does It Like Me (Coleman/Fields) becomes her anthem for the road trip.  Her voice is syrup-smooth and glitters like the rhinestone necklace she wears.  Everything about her swings from top to bottom, and she arrives at a male nudist colony where she takes advantage of the moment and sells her “coconuts” Sophie Tucker style apropos of nothing – but no one cares because we are invited to sing along.

Fed up with THAT she uses her stimulus check to buy her first Winnebago, Wally, and together they set off to see what they can see.  “The Pandammit” be damned – this gal was going to survive and thrive.  Cadillac Ranch was in the rear-view mirror – National Parks for Brassy Broads – straight ahead.  Past the Petrified Forrest, past Mustang Ranch, past the world’s Biggest Twine Ball – until On The Road Again (Willie Nelson) becomes Can’t Wait To Get Off This Road Again. Borghesi joins the nomads and trades tunes for food and drink until she is driven nearly mad.

After months that turned into more months and more months of solitude – she lost her audience and only had herself to perform for – not good – she makes it back to Manhattan. Take Me Back To Manhattan (Cole Porter) is a rich and raucous tribute to the town we all love, and frankly there is not enough time or love to lavish on our wounded home.  Borghesi slathers it on because she knows how.

She takes her time to chat up the audience, remonstrating anyone who messes up her routine, taking out a tape measurer to make certain folks keep their distance, demanding a (clean) hanky when needed.    Don’t look away for a second because you will miss something.

As if all things Borghesi were not enough, the guest appearance of Marta Sanders (who has her own set of powerful pipes) was the icing on the cake.  Their duet of I Will Survive (Perren/Fekaris) brought the house down and the audience to their feet.

Like I said – mark you calendars.  September 10th.

Borghesi’s back: Leanne Borghesi with Brandon Adams on Piano

Don’t Tell Mama