Lauren Fox: Cabaret’s Newest Favorite Cup of Tea

Posted: April 11, 2011 in Cabaret, Culture, Entertainment, New York City, Nightlife, Performance, Theater, Theatre, Uncategorized

Actress/singer-entrepreneur Lauren Fox has always emerged as something of a phenomenon in her circle, even from earliest childhood. Her father is writer-documentary filmmaker Ray Errol Fox, and her mother, Jean Thomas Fox, has been a giant in the field of children’s talent management for decades, with her internationally-acclaimed Kids & Co agency. As such, and with a constant parade of entertainment personalities waltzing through her life since before she could speak, it would only make sense that little Lauren would be bitten by the showbiz bug as a girl. Since that time, she has never lacked for work on stage, in film or on television (including recent featured roles on episodes of Fringe and New Amsterdam), and within the last year found herself co-starring off-Broadway in Hillbilly Women, alongside such luminaries as Mimi Turque and Annette Hunt, and directed by Sondra Lee, for which Fox copped a notice from the New York Times as “the show’s standout.” As if none of this was enough, just a few short years ago she and her younger sister, Haley, decided to open a small tea room on the Upper West Side; their notion was to create a space that was variedly-gourmet enough to interest adults, and at the same time engaging and fun for little ones. The result was Alice’s Tea Cup, which became a smash hit virtually overnight for its overwhelming selection of teas both hot and iced, but also for such unusual dishes as Lapsang Souchong Chicken, and an array of delicious sandwiches and pastries that is simply staggering (make sure to try the smoked salmon!). The sister-duo has since opened two more locations on the Upper East Side, and even a few months ago found the time to create the successful Alice’s Tea Cup Cookbook, which is selling very impressively. Somehow or another, however, cabaret was one of the few frontiers Fox had never opted to explore until recently, with her Metropolitan Room debut, Here’s to Love, which closes this evening at 9:30 and couldn’t possibly have marked a more stunning premier excursion for the lady.

With Jean-Pierre Perreaux’s ever-elegant technical direction and John Weber’s effortless handling of the ivories (especially when he unleashes a true surprise in the form of splendid stride piano), Fox is home before she begins,  initially setting the evening’s tone with Daniel R. Messe’s “My Father’s Waltz” (and he’s represented again later in the lineup with his equally-flawless “Great Houses of New York”).  Many cabaret debuts, especially ones that choose a theme of love, tend to show a slight over-reliance on the Great American Songbook, and while that genre is represented here in the form of such numbers as “Hi-Lili Hi-Lo,” “With a Song in My Heart,” “But Beautiful” and “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” Fox is clearly way too musically savvy not to have a gilded bouquet of surprises up her sleeve. These include Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am,” “Dance Me to the End of Love” by Leonard Cohen, and, in what may well be the standout moment of the evening, “Drunkard’s Prayer” by the band Over The Rhine. It’s interesting to notice that she not only bears an uncanny physical resemblance to Andrea Marcovicci from certain angles, but also the same innate gift for communication of note and nuance, and this will most certainly serve her in brilliant stead if and when the show decides to return, or in any future outings she chooses to unleash within the cabaret sphere.

This is one of those moments, in over twenty years of cabaret journalism, when your humble writer is saddened to acknowledge that a few hours from now, Lauren Fox and Here’s to Love will be wrapping things up, even if (hopefully) just temporarily. Rarely has a debut artist and a show come along that together are a match made in heaven, and her progress within the arena should most certainly be watched and anticipated with great eagerness.

Photo credit: Gino Domenico (http://www.ginodomenico.com)

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Comments
  1. sonofthecucumberking says:

    A lovely piece, Andrew. And astute! That’s my unbiased opinion.

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