Formerly, Lea Delaria was known as a lesbian comic
. Her appearances at national and local gay rights rallies were extremely commonplace
. She became a out lesbian first, then a celebrity
, which was pretty rare at the time. However, in the last few years, Ms. Delaria has given up the comedy club
for the supper club
. Her appearance at The Bottom Line
in New York City
this past winter
gives credence to her new career path. She now shares the stage with many other great vocalists of the past.
Ms. Delaria first vocal album Play it Cool, is an interesting collection of musical theatre selections arranged for jazz vocals. When first released, it garnered a great deal of publicity, if not success, for it’s unorthodox arrangements of some of the most well-known musical theater standards. Most notably, “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” in which she unites Sondheim with Scat.
This performance consisted of selections from her first album, and her upcoming untitled album, which includes equally unorthodox jazz arrangements of what she referred to as “college indie rock” songs. The tastes offered at this performance included her rendition of “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden and a very obscure song by the early 90’s metal band Jane’s Addiction.
It seems as if her upcoming album may be her attempt to beat a dead one-trick pony, but her renditions of musical theater pieces still seem to be fresh and fun. Among those were Cy Coleman’s “I’ve Got Your Number” from Little Me which is really a jazz number anyway, and “Welcome to My Party” from Michael-John Lachiusa’s Wild Party.
During “I’ve Got Your Number” Ms. Delaria scats for close to ten minutes, much to the apparent chagrin of her saxophonist, Seamus Blake. She eventually gets through it though, and she receives an A for effort.
Her closing number, now her signature, “The Ballad Of Sweeney Todd” almost made it all worth while. While the effort always shows in her singing, it seems as though you appreciate her more for it. You knows she’s working hard, and I guess that’s what counts.