Gerrilyn Sohn - Something Cool: A Review
Gerrilyn Sohn has returned to the cabaret stage at Don’t Tell Mama with her critically acclaimed show Gerrilyn Sohn: Something Cool. Performing a collection of her favorite musical numbers that either influenced her life or highlight significant moments in her lifetime, this show originally premiered on June 23rd of 2019 and garnered her a 2019 BroadwayWorld nomination for Best Debut Show. This year she’s also been nominated for the prestigious 2020 Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC) award for Best New York Debut - Female. These accolades, along with the others she has received, are well deserved and well earned.
This is a gifted actress with a classically trained voice that subtly grows on you moment by moment. With each song she weaves a narrative of her life while drawing the audience in with her vocal expertise. The resulting effect reveals her to be an exquisite storyteller with a stunning voice that doesn’t insist on respect but earns your admiration with each subsequent note. Many cabaret artists try to raise the roof of many a small cabaret room with big belts and booming theatrics. Ms. Sohn is confident enough to take the stage, plant her feet, tell you a story, and sing her heart out with a powerful velvety smooth voice that stays with you long after you’ve gone home.
Under the stage direction of Gretchen Reinhagen, who wisely lets Sohn be Sohn, and the musical direction of David Gaines, who also skillfully accompanies the vocalist, an exquisite evening is created from Broadway tunes, and selections from The Great American Songbook, that represent shows and performing artists that have had an impact on Ms. Sohn’s career. There’s a medley from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess which set her life on its musical path when she was just seven years old, there’s “Frank Mills” which serves as a reminder of the time she travelled Europe with the touring company of Hair, and then there’s her beautiful rendition of “Move On” from Sunday in the Park with George which came with funny and tender memories of her encounters with Bernadette Peters.
Each of the sixteen songs Ms. Sohn sings, including her haunting version of “Something Cool,” reflect her genuine self and showcase her innumerable skill sets. In physical stature and vocal acumen there are early signs here of a budding Judy Garland and this is stated with full sincerity given the gravitas of what that means. There are moments during Ms. Sohn’s evening of excellence that the light catches her sequined dress just right, or gleams off her outstretched fingers, or causes a shadow to grace her small frame and silhouette her face. Couple these fleeting instances with a confident voice that will continue to grow in determination with each subsequent show she embarks upon and one can easily see a true star being born.
Edward Medina is an active member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), where he serves on both the Membership and Diversity & Inclusion Committees. He is also a voting member of The Drama Desk. Edward welcomes comments at EdwardMedinaAuthor@gmail.com.