By Victoria L. Dammer
A spellbound audience welcomed back the MAC award-winning Broadway and off-Broadway singer Ann Kittredge on February 27 in her widely acclaimed show, Movie Nite, at The Birdland Theater in NYC. The performance was initially scheduled for January 10 but was canceled because of COVID. The audience greeted Kittredge on stage with a warm ovation.
Displaying her exceptional vocal talent, Kittredge sang an array of movie music from the past to the present, from great composers like Herman Hupfeld, Irving Berlin, Hamlisch and Bayer Sager, and Stephen Sondheim. She included a song that was her mother’s favorite, written by Kaper and Deutch. Her rendition of Harline and Washington’s 1940s hit was priceless.
She came on stage, rocking a glittery gold gown in old movie star glamour. She was warm, funny, and spoke passionately while relating personal stories about her fondness for the movies. Her voice was intoxicating.
Kittredge shared the story of how she loved old movies from the time she was a kid, watching black and white films on her parents’ Zenith T.V. Many in the audience could relate as she explained, “the magic of movies.”
The opening song, “As Time Goes By,” was from the 1931 Broadway musical “Everybody’s Welcome,” written by Herman Hupfeld. They reintroduced the music in the 1942 movie Casablanca, and Kittredge’s rendition received rowdy applause. Next, she sang, swayed, and danced to a feisty Berlin/Astaire medley that included “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “Top Hat,” and “Let’s Face the Music and Dance.” She shared a personal story about how Kaper and Deuth’s “Hi Lili Li Lo” was her mother’s favorite, and the audience observed how it was a tribute to her mother as she sang it with such intensity and love.
“What Can You Lose” followed from the 1990 movie “Dick Tracy,” a tribute to one of the greatest composers, Stephen Sondheim. The 1973 hit song “The Way We Were,” written by Hamlisch, revealed why her voice range could mesmerize an entire room.
Her last song, “When You Wish Upon A Star,” written for the 1940 movie “Pinocchio” by Harline and Washington, brought back memories to the crowd of Sunday nights in front of the T.V., watching Disney in the living room with the entire family.
Kittredge received an ovation that was thunderous and deserving. She promoted her new album “reIMAGINE”, which will be out later this year, and all will wait to listen to her dynamic voice again.
Movie Nite, directed by Barry Kleinbort; musical director Alex Rybeck on piano; Sean Harkness on guitar. Public relations by Richard Hillman.
Running time: 90 minutes.
The Birdland Jazz Club (315 West 44th Street) on Monday, January 10, 2022 @ 7pm. There is a $30 cover charge ($20 bar seating) and a $10 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at www.birdlandjazz.com or by calling (212) 381-5080.