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Friday, June 19, 2009

John Kelly + Joni Mitchell = !

John Kelly has opened Paved Paradise Redux: The Art of Joni Mitchell--the revival of his stunning cabaret-style impression of the great singer/songwriter--for a limited run at Abrons Arts Center, now through June 27. Take it from this fervent Joni fan, If you've already seen Kelly do his Joni, go back; it will do your heart good. If you've never seen it, now's the time. This is one brilliant artist crossed with another, brilliance squared, and we cannot have too much of that today.

From the romantic, gawky, kinda strange girl in a white tablecloth lace dress singing her increasingly sophisticated art songs to the dramatic, weary, chain-smoking, blue Joni of Act Two, Kelly gets voice, posture, sensitivity, goofiness and even the occasional toothy flash absolutely right. Nice song selection, too, among which "Woodstock"--winkingly re-purposed as "Wigstock"--and other numbers like "A Case of You" and "Down to You" are virtuoso performances, and not just for Kelly's able scaling of steep notes. When Kelly really feels a song, you hear deep into it, and these are songs worth hearing and savoring.


On August 6, The River to River Festival presents Kelly's Songs for A Shiny Hot Night: The Joni Mitchell Songbook at Castle Clinton, 7pm. For further details, click here.


WriterMarie said...

I would love to see that! It was so interesting to read "Girls Like Us" about Joni, along with Carly Simon and Carole King. I recommend the book, and wish I could come see John's show!

Eva Yaa Asantewaa said...

Thanks for reminding me about that book! I need to read it!

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