What better way to close out New York’s cabaret month than the career launch of a shining new star. Eva Kantor, 27, already a magnificent vocalist, made her first solo cabaret debut with “The Way I Am” Easter weekend at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC. Not only is Kantor a tremendous talent, she is the real deal – she almost looks too young and innocent for cabaret – and is surrounded by a supportive and accomplished team. The show is directed by her vocal coach, Eric Michael Gillett. Don Rebic, her pianist and musical director has worked with Peggy Lee and Lainie Kazan; bassist Dick Sarpola has performed with Tony Bennett and Barbara Cook; her husband Jonathan Kantor, whom she met on a blind date, plays tenor sax and clarinet as well as being a composer and arranger.
She admitted afterwards to being nervous during her opening suite but by the third number, “Something’s Coming,” the stage was hers. Although her selections were diverse, she’s at her best with some of the more whimsical numbers: “Disneyland” and “Regretting what I Said.” Her natural smile and facial expression is terrific especially in “My Simple Christmas Wish.” She was forceful and convincing with the lyrics, “I want to be rich famous and powerful.” We have to believe she will be.
Her performance would have been even stronger if she had moved around the stage. Her feet were firmly planted on an “x” spot. She only varied her position to sit on a stool for a few numbers. She won’t have any difficulty learning the nuances of presentation as she matures on the stage. She has the vocals but at times, she holds the microphone too close to her mouth partially hiding her bright and engaging smile.
Jonathan did harmony with her in “Sleepy Man” from “The Robber Bridegroom.” They worked well together. She talked about how she’s been on a journey of discovery in order to build balance in her life. As a kid, she loved the movies. It was an escape for her when she had a bad audition. It’s clear she loves performing. Her music is happy music and she’s a delight to listen to.