- CHARITY BENEFIT
by: Sandi Durell
Quirky, new age Emily Bergl is taking chances galore bringing her whimsical new show “NY I Love You” to the sophisticates at the Café Carlyle. Best known for her appearance on “Desperate Housewives,” the long-legged lovely emerged onto the stage in a black satin cut-a-way tuxedo jacket, her sinewy curves filling sparkling fishnet stockings, looking every inch the showgirl. She’s cute, adorable, a very engaging actress but with vocal prowess that leaves an audience wanting. So how does she do it?
She delivers the Rodgers/Hart “Manhattan” opening with mockery followed by annoyance in Jones/Kahn’s “It Had To Be You.” At this point, I was wondering just where this was going until she made a complete 180 degree turn with Harris’ “After The Ball,” set up with some patter about the old Limelight Church that was a dance club, seguing into a slow pleading Merrill/Rubicam’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).” From here on, she’s waiting for her man to call her “Hello! Ma Baby” (Howard/Emerson) on the “Telephone” (Germanotta/Jerkins/Daniels/Franklin/Knowles) while leaving it on “Vibrate” (Rufus Wainwright).
If it weren’t for her engaging winsome personality and good dramatic intent, I would think this show would be best suited for some little East Village club. Unlike “Kidding on the Square,” which she debuted at the Algonquin, “NY I Love You” seems just too esoteric and far reaching in an attempt to show off a road map of cleverness.
Once again, doing a semi-strip, she loses the jacket, bowtie and vest, letting the white shirt hang over her stockings, Elaine Stritch style, singing a rousing, brassy “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (Hazzard) which was a highlight. She wraps a long, flowing skirt over the shirt, talking about how her parents met at a disco in Dublin, and proceeds to sing a simple traditional Irish folk song “Bunclody,” losing some of the orchestrated moves. It was fun to hear some pop tunes in different tempos, like John Lennon’s “(Just Like) Starting Over,” and Matthew Wilder’s “Break My Stride.” This section, and the simplicity of Ms. Bergl’s delivery was a nice change, her voice sounding clear and sweet
Encore “We’ll Meet Again” (Parker/Charles) showed off a softer, less complicated effort.
Ms. Bergl is accompanied by Jonathan Mastro, Musical Director/Pianist; Leroy Bach, guitar; Dave Phillips, bass. The show is directed by Sarna Lapine. Costume design is by Sierra Robinson; hair design by John Barrett, photography by Michael Creagh.
As her marketing material describes “Peek If You Must” thru May 12th at the Café Carlyle www.thecarlyle.com 212 744-1600
*Photo: Stephen Sorokoff