By Victoria L. Dammer
Birdland Jazz Club was filled on May 2 with patrons eager to see Golden Globe winner and Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Amanda McBroom in her one night show entitled “Crimes of the Heart,” enthralling the crowd with more than 15 songs.
Alongside her musical director Michele Brourman, McBroom sang a litany of hits from her collaboration with Brourman, as well as music written by Irving Berlin, Leonard Cohen, Smokey Robinson, Stephen Sondheim. Of course, attendees were treated to the piece de resistance, her worldwide hit song, “The Rose,” made famous by Bette Midler, to whom McBroom paid homage. McBroom is also famous as an actress, and the audience was privy to her fantastic wit and sense of humor.
McBroom started the show with the song “Eggs,” co-written with Brourman, a hysterically funny ditty that asks the question, “how do you want your eggs?” instead of “do you want to spend the night we me?” What a twist.
It only got better from there. McBroom mentioned she grew up in Texas, a place not like the bright lights of New York City. She was thrilled to be able to perform, she said, after being secluded during the COVID pandemic and singing her song “End of Isolation,” co-written with Brourman.
The stirring combination of “Face the Music/Dance Me,” written by Irving Berlin/Leonard Cohen, respectively, showcased McBroom’s sultry and deeply stirring alto voice, a pleasure to experience.
When McBroom sang Smokey Robinson’s “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me,” all spectators became participants in the music, snapping their fingers and singing along to the tune. Her song “Crimes of the Heart” was a stirring ballad that expressed pain like a wounded animal.
In homage to the late Stephen Sondheim, McBroom sang her rendition of what many consider his most famous song, “Send in the Clowns.” Audiences never tire of hearing this sad, bittersweet song, a metaphor for love’s irony that most of us have experienced. She then turned the room from sad to happy with Alan Chapman’s clever piece, “Everyone Wants to be Sondheim.” McBroom is a talented master.
Perhaps the biggest treat of the night, other than spending 90 minutes with the accomplished McBroom, was hearing her sing her song, “The Rose,” which Bette Midler sang in the film by the same name. Many other performers have recorded this song, but McBroom’s passion for the story told by the piece was evident, and the audience erupted in several seconds of applause.
My suggestion is don’t miss the chance to see McBroom and Brourman the next time they are in town. In the often frenetic pace of life, it’s a pleasure to slow down and enjoy the music from two highly talented songwriters.
Amanda McBroom became an international sensation in 1979 when Bette Midler’s version of her song, “The Rose,” hit number one around the world. Her songs have been recorded by artists including Amy Poehler and Jack Black, Barry Manilow, Judy Collins, Barbara Cook, LeAnn Rimes, Anne Murray, Harry Belafonte, Stephanie Mills, The Manhattan Transfer, Donny Osmond, Kurt Cobain, Nana Mouskouri, Conway Twitty, and The Chipmunks. McBroom has been applauded in concert halls from Carnegie Hall to Angel Place Recital Hall in Sydney, Australia.
She has received a Golden Globe Award, a Grammy nomination, the Johnny Mercer Songwriter of the Year Award, and the Mabel Mercer Lifetime Achievement Award. With her writing partner, Michele Brourman, she has written lyrics for 19 Universal Animation features, including the Land Before Timeseries and Curious George. She was also a featured lyricist for the classic TV series “Cop Rock.” Amanda has written two musicals, Heartbeats and A Woman of Will, and is a lyricist for Dangerous Beauty, which had its world premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse. Her ninth album of original songs, Voices – featuring a duet with country star Vince Gill – was released on her label Gecko Records, and went to #1 on Amazon. Her 2021 single, “Send in the Clowns,” is a tribute to Stephen Sondheim. Amanda’s music is available on Apple Music, Amazon, and www.amcbroom.com.
BIRDLAND JAZZ CLUB and Fortune Creative will present Amanda McBroom on Monday, May 2 at 7:00 PM. There is a $40 music charge and a $20 food and beverage minimum. Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues) in Manhattan. For reservations, please call (212) 581-3080 or visit www.BirdlandJazz.com.