Isaac Mizrahi is ebullient! Taking the stage at 54 Below in a navy bespoke suit with oversized daisies in its lapels, he gleefully holds the stage for ninety minutes of quips, bawdy free association and most of all, music.
If you’ve seen Mizrahi in the 1995 documentary Unzipped, as a judge on Project Runway Allstars, or in numerous other appearances on screens big and small, you know he is smart and acidly funny. What you may not know is that he is also an adept singer and musician with a love for songs, both classic and contemporary. This talent is on full display as he tears through a selection of tunes ranging from Stephen Sondheim to Billie Eilish.
Mizrahi knows what all savvy performers know - always surround yourself with the very best people on stage. His musical partners for the evening were director/pianist Ben Waltzer, Neal Miner on bass and Stefan Schatz on drums. He has an able crew of artists each in their own right, and he lets them have their solo moments to shine. One particular standout moment was a slowed-down jazz-tinged version of Madonna’s hit “Borderline” (music and lyrics by Reggie Lucas) that brings a new perspective to what has often been dismissed as a catchy pop tune.
If you are looking for a show filled with insider fashion dope and endless name-dropping, this is not it. Oh, he does throw a bit of shade at Calvin Klein via his mother and he may mention his friend Liza’s (do you really need a last name here?) reaction to his memoir and dinners with Stephen Sondheim. The anecdotes are primarily about his life, his giddily skewed take on world events, and his great loves - his dog and “my husband, Arnold, who is gay.” His performance of Sondheim’s “One More Kiss” was a lovely tribute to both a friend and composer and a moment of beautiful stillness where the real vulnerable man shines through. And though I love the manic, engaging personality that guides us through most of the show, I couldn’t help but wish for just a few more points like this.
In a world where an artist is expected to be a master in just one area, Mizrahi illustrates that a true artist, through hard work, knowledge of his craft and endless creativity, can joyfully thrive in many.
August 10-13, 2022
254 W 54th St. Cellar, NYC 10019
Wendy Lane Bailey has a powerful classic pop voice and a rather cavalier attitude towards the idea of genre. Wendy-Lane’s debut solo recording, Breathing, was produced by composer/arranger/pianist Michele Brourman. Her performances in venues across the country have earned critical praise for versatility and sophistication. She has appeared as a guest artist on multiple recordings, including Leslie Gore’s and Susan Egan’s. She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, HB Studios and the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. Off-stage Wendy Lane is a creative advocate for artists. While living in Washington, D.C., she founded a regional networking organization for musicians and for five years, was the Associate Director of the Cabaret Conference at Yale University. She received a 2007 Bistro Award for outstanding achievement and was nominated for a Washington Area Music Association Award. While serving on the board of NJ’s Pioneer productions, she produced, directed, and appeared in several theatre pieces. She is currently developing Hot Coffee, MS, a solo theatre piece with music in collaboration with Michele Brourman & Gretchen Cryer. In 2020, she accepted the position of Assistant Artistic Director of the United Solo Theatre Festival. In addition to her performing work, she teaches and consults privately and in master classes for singers of all genres.