There ain’t nothing like a dame, and there is truly ain’t nothing like a dame that can sing about the best of them. Christine Pedi is one of those gifted singers. Ms. Pedi’s wonderful cabaret show was part of Signature Theater’s Sizzlin’ Summer Cabaret series. Performing two back-to-back shows, Ms. Pedi paid tribute to some of the finest divas from the Broadway stage and the silver screen. Pedi is not only an outstanding songstress, and cabaret performer, but is also a master impersonator.
In addition to her celebrated cabaret career, she has performed on Broadway (“Chicago”), Off-Broadway, the West End and recently became a host for XM radio’s “On Broadway” show.
The theme for Ms. Pedi’s Signature show was songs from strong funny women. Saluting Ethel Merman, Pedi sang “No Divas Like Old Divas,” a twist on the Irving Berlin show biz anthem that Ethel Merman made famous. Pedi then paid tribute to a late career Julie Andrews through one of the numbers she sang in Forbidden Broadway, “I Couldn’t Hit the Note” (featuring the melody of “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady). Following a tribute to Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl, Pedi sang ‘When You’re Good to Mama”, the song she sang on Broadway in Chicago. She then paid tribute to female songwriters such as Betty Comden (“If”), Christine Lavin (the wonderful, “Air Conditioner Song”) and Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich (songs from the new musical Ever After.
Turning to the Silver Screen idols, Pedi paid tribute to Doris Day, poking fun of her virgin image and her ill-fated relationship with Rock Hudson in a spoof on “Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will be Will Be)”, redubbed “A Virgin I’ll Always Be.”
Pedi further showed off her musical comedy with a hysterical song about Anna Karenina the musical that was also featured in Forbidden Broadway, in which doomed heroine, Anna nostalgically sings about the train that is coming to take her life. But the highlight of the evening was Christine singing various numbers from Les Miserables imagining nontraditional casting had been undertaken. A uproarious medley followed including: Patti LuPone singing “I Dreamed a Dream”, Cher singing “Look Down”, Julie Andrews singing “Lovely Ladies,” Eartha Kitt, Liza Minelli and Judy Garland as Javert singing “Stars”, Carol Channing and Fran Drescher singing “On My Own”, the late great, Elaine Stritch singing “Master of the House” and Angela Lansbury singing “Do You Hear the People Sing?” This segment was filled with laugh after laugh, as Pedi’s impersonations were completely spot on, so much so that she did not even need to identify the various persons whom she was impersonating.
Pedi finished the delightful show with encore, “The Lady is a Tramp.” Ms. Pedi gave her enthusiastic audience a thoroughly entertaining evening, one that felt like a dozen or more divas had just performed rather than one super-talented master performer. We can only hope Christine Pedi graces the Washington area with her many talents again soon.
Running Time: 85 minutes.
Christine Pedi: Great Dames was part of Signature Theatre’s Sizzlin Summer Nights cabaret series that plays through Sunday, July 26, 2014 at Signature Theatre – 4200 Campbell Avenue, in Arlington, VA.. For tickets to other cabaret performances in Signature’s Sizzlin’ Summer Nights series, call (703) 820-9771, or purchase them online