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Rita Kohn
Music Performance Reviews
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The District Theatre
United States
Indianapolis, IN

Brenda Williams Sings America’s Heart & Soul in Timeless Music Project Program

by Rita Kohn
April 30, 2019
The District Theatre
627 Massachusetts Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 685-8687
Rita Kohn, member: Dance Critics Association, Authors Guild, Dramatists Guild
For her performance on April 28 Brenda Williams carried her parlor onto the Christel DeHaan stage at The District Theatre and, with a cohort of friends on and off stage, traipsed through the oeuvre of George and Ira Gershwin. Channeling Ella Fitzgerald, to our collective delight, the songs floated above the dust of ‘legendary’ to embrace us with the whiff of original creation. Was that Ira testing a phrase, George lifting a thought? Working her way into the heart, together with the impeccable Everett Greene circling the soul, and the combo of Craig Hicks, piano; Shawn Goodman, clarinet; Jon Block, bass; Gene Markiwiecxz, drums, bringing the art of riffing to full spectrum. Brenda in concert always is in process, reaching for the connectivity between; Everett is assured on a path we comfortably follow alongside; the combo fits itself around. It’s scintillating.

Tying it all together are the sprightly text and narration by Bruce Reynolds and the impeccable lighting and sound design by Ennis Adams.

In a nutshell, this was the first in series under the rubric, The Timeless Music Project: Brenda Williams and Friends: Songs and Stories from The Great American Songbook. The descriptions reads: “Brenda Williams welcomes a rotating set of musical friends to present uniquely themed performances that feature songs from the Great American Songbook." Bruce Reynolds joins her narrating stories about the songs and their composers and lyricists. The initial performance puts the spotlight on the Gershwin Brothers, George and Ira. Future shows will delve into the works of other greats, including Hoosiers Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael. Join Brenda and her friends as she invites you into her “living room” to hear songs and stories from the Great American Songbook.

Coming up:

Brenda Williams and Friends perform a mix of jazz standards and more at The Jazz Kitchen for Mother’s Day 2019

May 25 at IndyFringe Basile Theatre Outdoor Stage, “Night Before THE RACE” IndyBluesRevue.

Brenda Williams headlines a group of Indy's finest musicians in a high energy concert series celebrating America's great Rhythm and Blues tradition along with great songs from other genres in R&B fashion: “Think” Tammy Wynette’s "Stand By Your Man".

Brenda Williams is a dynamic and vivacious singer and actress based in the Indianapolis area. Equally impressive to her voice and talent is her resume, which includes performing for three United States Presidents. Ms. Williams gained recognition in the Indianapolis area with her award-winning performances in the American Cabaret Theatre, the Indiana Repertory Theatre, and Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. And her national recognition packs much star power. Ms. Williams has been the opening act for headliners such as Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, Lee Greenwood, Chuck Mangione, and Meryl Streep.

Next in the Timeless Music Project:

June 7, Carnival of Joy! A Celebration of Hoagy Carmichael

Direct from New York City to Indy's District Theatre Emily Asher's Garden Party Quartet featuring Asher's tenacious trombone and sweet vocals, Mike Davis' virtuosic trumpet playing, Rob Adkins swinging bass lines and Adam Moezinia's Juilliard honed guitar mastery for a full two-set program of freshly arranged tunes from the Hoagy Carmichael Songbook along with her new program: Swingtime in the Garden.
Brenda Williams

Brenda Williams

Photo © & courtesy of Photographer Unknown

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