Looking too young to have been absent from the New York cabaret scene for more than a dozen years, Ariane Reinhart was attractive, poised, and confident. She arrived with plenty of firepower – the Grammy winner Laurence Hobgood’s trio—Matthew Rybicki on bass, Jared Schonig on drums.
The eclectic set ranged from Jason Robert Brown (“Someone Else’s Clothes”) to Bill Withers (“Ain’t No Sunshine”), and Adam Guettel (“Awaiting You” and “The Joy You Feel”) to U2/Bono and The Edge (“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”). Moving among country, rock, jazz and a standard, Reinhart was clearly secure in every genre, even demonstrating a flair for comedy. “Memory” (Andrew Lloyd Webber – music—with special lyrics by Pam Peterson) was hilarious as the audience knowingly identified with the line “Why did I walk into this room?” Especially funny was “Medley – Terror Down the Aisle,” delivered at a dizzying pace after starting as a waltz. Reinhart didn’t drop one stich as she combined several songs to suggest the various stages of falling in love, leading up to the very moment of commitment: “Tonight”; “The Look of Love”; “Love Is Here to Stay”; “I’ll Be Seeing You”; “Somewhere”; “The Way You Look Tonight”; and “Getting Married Today.”
“Ain’t No Sunshine,” performed in a leisurely, jazzy arrangement, was sadder and moodier than usual. An extended piano improvisation infused the piece with the underlying darkness. Reinhart delivered an old torch song, “I Cover the Waterfront” (John Green & Edward Heyman), with all the requisite yearning. From the verse to the final chorus, she created a sultry atmosphere that was simply saturated with fog and cigarette smoke. While the music was a bit loud at times, the volume wasn’t enough to obscure Ariane Reinhart’s gorgeous voice. A warm and gentle ballad would have been a welcome addition to the well-conceived program, directed by nine-time MAC Award recipient Lennie Watts.