Delightful cabaret making its world premiere at Luna Stage
Actor/singer Ami Brabson, a self-described “woman of a certain age,” has taken a look back at her life, adding musical comment, and has come up with an exploration of the changes that affect all of us in A Change Is Gonna Come, a 75-minute cabaret making its world premiere at Luna Stage in West Orange. Ms. Brabson’s talent as the show’s creator is matched by her talents as storyteller and singer. Backed up by a three-piece ensemble, the show moves along smartly from the opening notes to the closing number. It’s a delightful, if brief, evening in the theatre.
A Change Is Gonna Come starts with Ms. Brabson coming on stage to sing Pete Seeger’s “Turn, Turn, Turn,” backed up by music director/pianist Corey Wachala, bassist Joe Bussey, and drummer Dr. Colleen Clark. From there, Ms. Brabson, under the direction of Luna Stage’s Artistic Director Ari Laura Kreith, muses on the constancy of change by relating stories of changes in her own life: owning one’s first home, raising children, the death of loved ones, political upheavals, and the physical and emotional changes that come with the challenges of growing older.
Interspersed throughout her reminiscences, Ms. Brabson performs a neat dozen songs chosen to reflect on the points of her stories. They range from the classic American folk song “Erie Canal” to Stephen Sondheim’s “Children Will Listen,” from “Hallelujah I Love Her So” by Ray Charles to “What’ll I Do?” by Irving Berlin, and from Ashford & Simpson’s “Reach Out and Touch” to the title tune written by Sam Cooke. A special musical number is a combination of song, piano, poetry, and words taken from a speech by Cory Booker.
A Change Is Gonna Come is a delightful early Christmas present wrapped up for us by Ami Brabson, her backup musicians, director Ari Laura Kreith, and Luna Stage. Ms. Brabson is an engaging storyteller and singer, and it is a definite pleasure to spend an evening with her. I recommend taking the time to see Ami Brabson in the small treasure that is her cabaret meditation on the one constant in all our lives. A Change Is Gonna Come before it comes to its all-too-soon conclusion.