By Holli Harms

Rita Wilson at Café Carlyle.

Let me start by saying Rita Wilson gives good Rita Wilson!

Singer, songwriter, show person, storyteller, charmer, party maker! It was a party at Cafe Carlyle. A big band, Rock and Roll, Broadway musical party all wrapped up in one beautiful woman, her partner in crime Fraser Walters, and her merry coterie of musicians.

Photo By David Andrako

Fraser Walters, former member of The Tenors, and Rita Wilson are a match made in musical heaven. They harmonize perfectly making one plus one equal way more than two, their voices complement one another, answer one another, and build on each other. Together they deliver a collection of songs with depth that sings from the heart.

For this evening Ms. Wilson’s songbook is composed of mostly sounds of the ’70s, “Without You” – Harry Nilsson, “Where is the Love” – Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, “Let It Be Me” – The Everly Brothers, and “If” by Bread. The rhythms, the tunes, the melodies, are the kind you sway to, you lean back and toss your head as if free on a swing, and let the music flow over you in long lifting waves.

Wilson shares the stage with Walters and also graciously steps down to give him the spotlight. He then takes the stage and moves us to claps and cheers with The Beatles, and to audible heartfelt sighs with Le Miserables’ “Bring Him Home.” His voice lifted us up and out.

Wilson joins Walters and returns with Van Morrison’s Crazy Love. To perform Van Morrison takes guts, and thankfully for us, Wilson’s got guts and more.

Again and again, Wilson and Walters moved us to lift our hands to the air, to hoot and holler, to scream both in admiration and thanks. Wilson personally brought many to tears with the song, Throw Me a Party” which she composed during her struggle with cancer. She had me reaching for a tissue. Cancer, unfortunately, has touched so many of us.

Ms. Wilson had gotten the party she sings about, she threw it for us.

Rita Wilson is in a two-week residency at the Carlyle ( October 25th – November 5th) so find a night and go. The Carlyle is classic New York without the snobbery. The staff at the Carlyle treat you as if you are old friends and they want to make sure that your time there is superbly memorable because they care. This night was memorable beyond any experience I have had at the Carlyle thus far and that was all Rita!!!

Rita Wilson returns to the Café Carlyle with a two-week residency. Each week will feature a different show.

For week one of her Residency at Café Carlyle (October 25 – 29) Rita Wilson will sing  with Fraser Walters, “Rita Wilson Now and Forever: Duets with Fraser Walters.”

For her second week at the Carlyle, (November 1 – 5), a more intimate experience is in store with “Rita Wilson’s Liner Notes.” Rita will be joined by her friends and songwriters singing their songs and telling the stories behind their hits.

Performances will take place Tuesday – Saturday at 8:45pm. Pricing Tuesday – Thursday begins at $120 per person / Bar Seating: $85 / Premium Seating: $170 and Friday and Saturday begins at $145 per person / Bar Seating: $100 / Premium Seating: $190.

Reservations can be made online via Tock.

Café Carlyle is located in The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (35 East 76th Street, at Madison Avenue).

Follow Café Carlyle on Instagram@cafecarlyle and Facebook for more information.