Although no one will believe it, a voice from the wings announces, “Tennie Leonard, in her first farewell show.” This belting pixie is a personable and confident singer who brings her latest show, What About Today? Anything Goes…, to Danny’s Skylight Room. Admittedly, it’s a pretty cumbersome title, but it refers to her two current muses, the team of David Shire and Richard Maltby, Jr., and Cole Porter. The songs selected reveal something about the men themselves, as well as about the singer and the songs she chooses. Sophisticated, witty Cole Porter showed his dark side in songs like Down in the Depths, which Leonard performs sitting alone at a table with a martini; he also contributed her encore: Everytime We Say Goodbye and After You. It is, however, with the Maltby and Shire songs that Leonard delves deepest for the core of personal relevance.

Directed by Scott Barnes and accompanied by David Brunetti, Leonard’s selections are well-suited for a lady of a certain age. Leonard infuses Patterns and What About Today? with a been-there, done-that nuance uniquely flavored with her upbeat spirit. This optimistic/disillusioned mood pervading the show is effectively defined with the pairing of Porter’s hopeful At Long Last Love with an acknowledgement of disenchantment in Maltby and Shire’s I’ve Been Here Before.

Leonard has a big voice and one problem in her shows has been that she over-uses it. This time she tones down the decibels in some of the Maltby and Shire tunes, and also in Porter’s So In Love, which she performs with poignant desperation.

Petite and chic in a gorgeous black gown, if this is Tennie Leonard’s first farewell show, she’s got quite a few more to go. It seems she’s got more to say than ever before, and there are a lot of songs to help her say it.

Cabaret Scenes