The last time I saw Betty Buckley in a cabaret, she did a ballad-heavy show of obscure songs by Texan songwriters. That show broke what I consider to be two important rules about building a solid cabaret act: A) Go easy on the ballads (you want an audience that is in love, not asleep); and B) Give the audience at least a couple of familiar things as signposts. Miss Buckley’s new cabaret show “Singin’ for My Supper” pays strict attention to those rules, featuring a winning blend of classic standards, theatre tunes and popular contemporary songs.
She and musical director Kenny Werner have put together an act that uses Buckley’s voice as one more instrument (a very powerful one) in an ultra-tight jazz ensemble. Werner’s arrangement of “Cry Me a River” is particularly original, complex and dynamic, and Buckley’s delivery is as smart, big and powerful as Werner’s approach demands. In general, Buckley’s return engagement at Feinstein’s finds her in strong voice and fine frisky fettle!