‘Nova Y. Payton: An Evening with Nova’ at Sizzlin’ Summer Cabaret at Signature Theatre by Nicole Cusick


When a show opens with a Beyonce number and closes with some Chaka Khan there are two things you can be certain of. First is that you must be at Signature’s Sizzlin’ Summer Cabaret and second is that Nova Payton must be in the house.

Photo courtesy of Arena Stage.

Photo courtesy of Arena Stage.

Payton is a regular at the Signature Theatre. Most recently she was Effie in their production of Dreamgirls as well as appearing in two other Cabaret’s there including Defying Graving: The Making of a SuperNova and The Lost Songs of Broadway 1970s. Payton’s selections for the night covered a wide range of selections. She sang a few show tunes from past cabarets as well as some personal favorites that reminds her of her youth including a mash up of the MASH theme song, “Simply Red,” and “Take a Look at Me Now” by Phil Collins. It was quite a unique mix, but the night was full of surprises.

The night also included quite a bit of audience participation which was a blast. The audience was split up and sang the parts of the backup singers during the couple of Motown songs as well as Payton’s mother who was in the audience who was actually given a microphone to back up her daughter. Luckily mom is a singer as well and has almost as good of a voice as her daughter.

Darius Smith accompanied Payton and it was easily to see how well and how regularly they work together. Parts of the show seemed like the audience was just lucky enough to witness their personal jam session because they were both just always tuned into the music.

Payton is releasing a CD soon which is a studio version of her Defying Graving: The Making of a SuperNova which is very exciting for all of her fans. James Gardiner who introduced Payton was right; she is one of the best voices in town.

Running time: One hour.

Nova Y. Payton: An Evening with Nova  plays again on Tuesday, August 6th at 8 PM at Signature Theatre – 4200 Campbell Avenue, in Arlington, VA. For ticket reservation call the box office at 703-820-9771. Tickets may also be purchased online at Signature website.

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