Singer Alysha Umphress shines at Joe’s Pub
Alysha Umphress didn’t hesitate to bring an array of theatrics to the stage in AND THINGS… LIKE THIS at Joe’s Pub last night. Four costume changes, videos edited by Jake Wilson, multiple medleys arranged by Joshua Stephen Kartes, Joel Wagner and Jeff Blumenkrantz, guest star Cristin Milioti and childhood stories are just a few of the things Ms. Umphress brought on stage and its 90 minute Show.
Alysha’s first three costume changes split the show thematically. She started in a beautiful green dress with embroidered gold suns and stars, reminiscent of her childhood. Inspired by Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, jazz and classic rock, we heard songs like THE SINGER, ONE LESS BELL TO ANSWER, MUCH MORE and GOTTA MOVE, arranged in jazzy mixes. Through edited home and fun videos featuring the likes of Wendy Williams, Real Housewives, American Idol auditions and, of course, Liza Minnelli, Joe’s Pub audiences learned about Alysha’s humble beginnings, performing in local county fair circuits and singing the national anthem. at sporting events when I was a kid. Even without her ponytail gimmick from her early career, that same star quality can still be seen in Umphress today.
The night took a magical turn as Alysha changed into a long dark dress and music videos from classic witch movies played on the screen. A special element of cabaret is how an artist can take a song and give it a new perspective. That’s exactly what Alysha did with ANGIE BABY. Through her arrangement, patrons got the chance to really listen to the lyrics of the 70s pop classic which tells the crazy story of a touched girl kidnapping a neighborhood boy and imprisoning his soul in her radio, for the to use for his own sexual pleasure – and, as Alysha said, “a true inspiration”. A highlight was when fellow witch Cristin Milioti joined Alysha to sing a medley featuring TAKEN TO SKY, creating harmonies to put everyone in a hypnotized state they didn’t want to end.
In her final act, Alysha went from witch to star, in a shiny silver dress. Bringing home a few more home videos from her ponytail performance days and iconic Liza interviews, Alysha returned to her classic rock roots and sang KILLER QUEEN and SUNDAY. Ending the evening with a warm moment, longtime friend Jeff Blumenkrantz joined Alysha on the keys as she sang a BRANDY medley. Of everyone involved with the show, you could tell that a lot of time and care had gone into creating a special night. Not to give it all away, this writer would like to recommend everyone experience Alysha Umphress’ latest costume change for themselves in AND THINGS… LIKE THIS at Joe’s Pub on October 2-3. For more information, please visit the Joe’s Pub website HERE.
Alysha Umphress has an instagram HERE.