Alix Korey sings like no one else these days. As a matter of fact, no one sang like her when I first heard in a cabaret back 1990. No one sang like her in an off-Broadway show I loved, "No Way To Treat a Lady" and no one will be singing like her in William Finn's show "Romance in Hard Times" slated to open at Barrington Stage Company on August 14. If you find anyone who sings like Alix Korey at all, it will undoubtedly be Alix Korey.
For her two-night cabaret engagement the singer is paying homage to the late, very great, Ethel Merman. The two women have two things in common: the brass tones in the voice and the simple fact that a microphone is lovely to hold but it doesn't really add much to the size, quality or clarity in the voice. Merman is an ideal ideal for Korey; she resembles the stage star in so many wonderful ways.
Personality is the greatest similarity. Both women stretch the capacity of a room with the warmth they bring to a song. Merman isn't considered the chummiest stage star but no one who ever saw her left the room untouched by her talent. My own mother went into labor during the second act of "Annie Get Your Gun" that first time around and that was undoubtedly brought on by my hearing the great Merman belting out an Irving Berlin tune.
Secondly there is the ability to interpret a lyric. Merman never worried about it much and she made her songs great by just putting them across. Korey goes the greater step and really interprets what she's singing about. She moves you with a harsh note that should make you take a step backward but instead draws you into the magic circle of reality established by the song itself. That is an art that not many have had: Betty Rhodes, Mary Martin, Barbra Streisand, a few others, and Alix Korey.
There may not be any room left for her second show on Monday, August 4, but I wouldn't hesitate if you want to sit in a room with one of the greatest songstresses of our time. Make the call before you finish reading this notice. You are on notice here. Alix Korey is in town.
Alix Korey: Doin' What Comes Naturally will only be playing for one more performance on Monday, August 4 with Christopher Marlowe at the piano. Mr. Finn's Cabaret is located downstairs at Barrington Stage Company's Sydelle and Lee Blatt Center for the Arts, located at 36 Linden Street in Pittsfield, MA. For information and tickets call the box office at 413-236-8888 or go on line at barringtonstageco.org.