Lorna Luft

| July 21, 2017

Lorna Luft

Feinstein’s at the Nikko, San Francisco, CA, June 23, 2017

Reviewed by Steve Murray for Cabaret Scenes

Lorna Luft

Lorna Luft is in the enviable position of being a treasured link to a glorious history of music, songwriting, and creation of The Great American Songbook. As the daughter of Judy Garland, Luft grew up literally sitting on the knee of songwriters like Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen. Her lineage is the stuff of legend and she has the backstories that make for fascinating cabaret banter. Her vocal style mimics her famous mother—a concentration of big belting numbers and poignant ballads. Luft took to the stage with a popular Garland song, the optimistic and buoyant “Comes Once in a Lifetime” (Jule Styne/Betty Comden/Adolph Green).

A tribute to Johnny Mercer had snippets of many of his greatest hits: “Moon River” (music: Henry Mancini), “Something’s Gotta Give,” “Blues in the Night,” and “Come Rain or Come Shine” (the last two with music by Harold Arlen). Opining on the current state of political affairs, she segued into “A Cockeyed Optimist” from South Pacific as a message of hope. A fine homage to her great friend Peter Allen was heartfelt and were her best vocal deliveries. The standouts were “I Honestly Love You” (co-writer: Jeff Barry), and his biggest hit, “Don’t Cry Out Loud” (lyrics: Carole Bayer Sager).

Another tribute, to good friend Burt Bacharach included so many of his great songs: “I Say a Little Prayer,” “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me,” “Walk On By,” (all with lyrics by Hal David) and “That’s What Friends Are For ” (lyrics: Carole Bayer Sager). Two soft ballads by Bacharach/David in this sequence were lovely: “Alfie” and “A House Is Not a Home.”

It was altogether fitting to close with a big Garland finisher, “San Francisco.” A huge advocate of LGBTQ rights, Luft sits on the board of the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative and, as an homage to Gay Pride, encored with a rainbow-flagged, audience participation rendition of Donna Summer’s hit “Last Dance.” Lorna Luft is maintaining the huge task of carrying the torch for her late, great mother—a task she gladly accepted and lovingly owns.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, Regional, San Francisco, San Francisco Cabaret Reviews

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Paula West

In fine voice and in a chatty mood.

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