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Julie Wilson

In her current set, Wilson manages to reach deep into the popular music song bag for seldom-performed items such as the Gershwins' "That Certain Feeling" and "Who Cares," plus Rodgers & Hart's "This Funny World."

In her current set, Wilson manages to reach deep into the popular music song bag for seldom-performed items such as the Gershwins’ “That Certain Feeling” and “Who Cares,” plus Rodgers & Hart’s “This Funny World.”

From Broadway comes “I Only Want to Laugh,” which Wilson introduced as the wife of NYC Mayor Jimmy Walker in the 1984 flop “Jimmy,” and Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields’ wry, ironic “Nobody Does It Like Me” from 1973’s “See-Saw.” Wilson’s slinky-tempoed reading of Coleman and Carolyn Leigh’s “Hey, Look Me Over” (from 1960’s “Wildcat”) began with her strong, inventive accompanist, pianist Marc Hummel, playing a teasing couple of bars of the composers’ “If My Friends Could See Me Now.”

More in the “special material” category of cabaret songs are two very funny, salty portraits of women: “Henrietta” and Wall Street wonder “Sally.” For her signature “I’m a Bad, Bad, Bad Woman,” the petite, elegant singer brought out a huge feather boa, recruiting an audience member to help put it on. “You just hold it,” she purred, “and I’ll do all the work.”

Julie Wilson

(Cinegrill; 120 seats; $ 15)

Production: Promoted inhouse. Piano: Marc Hummel. Opened, reviewed Jan. 16, 1996; closes Jan. 27. A native Midwesterner with a Broadway and big band background, cabaret stalwart Julie Wilson comes from the long tradition of "selling" songs, rather than using them as a basis for improvisation. Her diction and intonation are fine, with a noticeable vibrato adding character more then distracting. She also shows a pro's ease in dealing with the audience, whether directly or in introducing material. Wilson comes to Los Angeles concurrent with the release of a book, "The Night and the

Creative: Music," in which author Grace Winer groups her with two other major stars of the genre, Rosemary Clooney and Barbara Cook. Wilson has scheduled differently themed sets for each week: "Are We Having Any Fun?" closes Sunday; the self-explanatory "Songs About Men" runs Jan. 23-27.

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