“Some girls make magazine covers,” sang Tanya Holt, performing the number, “I Can Cook, Too,” in her show, Forever Home, at the Metropolitan Room. “I made a magazine cover,” she continued—this publication, this winter—and, as she held a copy high, the audience cheered. Cheers, in fact, were the order of the evening as Holt’s million-watt smile, warmth and music-making reached every corner of the room.

With a quiet voice, sometimes silvery, sometimes smoky, always subtly expressive in the service of a song and its story, Holt shifted smoothly among several modes: jazz (“Let’s Get Busy Too” by Dinah Washington); blues (“Daddy-O” by Gene DePaul and Don Raye); thoughtful (“Laughing Matters” by Dick Gallagher and Mark Waldrop); scat (”Pick Yourself Up” by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields) and ballads (“The Very Thought of You” by Ray Noble and “The Nearness of You” (by Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington).

The show represented a special “welcome back” for Holt. Booking manager for the Metropolitan Room, and increasingly recognized throughout cabaret as a singular singer in her own right, she had interrupted performing following a fire—yes, a cooking accident—that devastated her home. “I’m thrilled to be on this side of the stage,” she told the audience, who roared back happily in agreement. Creative contributions for the evening came from Tracy Stark, with just-right musical arrangements, piano work and vocals; Lennie Watts, director, emphasizing simplicity in staging; Matt Wigton, providing expert support on bass; and J-P Perreaux on lights and sound.

Cabaret Scenes
March 6, 2012