- CHARITY BENEFIT
Written by: Paulanne Simmons
In Charlotte Patton’s “Looking for Love in the 21st Century,” at the Duplex , the singer begins her show with Lyle Lovett’s “quirky” and “confusing” “Here I Am.” She then proclaims, “Welcome to my love life.”
For Patton, love in the 21st century is all about Internet dating. And apparently she has had extensive experience with the phenomenon, whether she’s “looking for a soul mate or a date for Saturday night.”
Although the show’s title promises the very latest in music, many of the songs are surprisingly (and fortunately) standards by the masters. Audiences will recognize songs by Kurt Weil and Ogden Nash, Noel Coward, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman and Rodgers and Hart. All the songs are held together by a single storyline: Patton’s love-life.
In Schwartz and Dietz’s “Confession,” she gets very personal: “I always go to bed at ten/then I go home at four.” Midway through the show she lets the audience know she has not always been single, a sly introduction to Sondheim’s “Could I Leave You.” Cindy Jordan’s “Jose Cuervo” becomes a spirited sing-a-long. Thankfully, the closing medley, “Pick Yourself Up,” by Kern and Fields, and Irving Berlin’s “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” affirms that Patton still believes in love.
Despite the passion implied in “Looking for Love,” this cabaret show is remarkably understated, It is directed by Back Stage Bistro Award winner and Nightlife Award finalist Karen Oberlin, which may be one reason the show is so intelligent but mild-mannered.
The other reason is that Patton clearly does not have the range or the power of a belter. Her strong suit is a reasoned delivery of songs with thoughtful lyrics. In fact, the lushest part of the show is the piano playing of musical director Barry Levitt, whom Patton correctly calls “a whole orchestra all by himself.”
“Looking for Love in the 21st Century” is funny, and wry, and delivers many truths in both song and tongue-in-cheek musings. But, when it comes to love, it has more the feel of a glowing, steady relationship than a raging, fiery romance.