Donna Lynne Champlin, who appeared in the recent revival of “Sweeney Todd” and sings in the Sultans of Swing Big Band, is a witty storyteller who links each of her songs with an extravagant narrative. In a 90-minute perf that is often manic and irreverent, Champlin has an exhausting edge. Full of sparkle and sophistication she offers an incisive portrait of a fledgling actor with drive and purpose, accented with an abundance of cheery patter.
Champlin draws from a deep well of material and to accommodate a room full of feverish fans, she passes around a top hat, inviting patrons to reach in and withdraw one of her many zany stories.
“What Is It About Him?” from “The Wild Party'” served the singer as a breathless star-struck novice with a heated crush on actor Brian Darcy James. Every actor in New York seems to have had a turn on “Law and Order” and the audition for the long-running TV show perhaps serves as Champlin’s funniest bit. Relegated to a single line performance in her television debut, she dons a surgical gown in the role of a nurse whose brother is a pedophile. The story is a howl and the song is “Family” from “Dreamgirls.”
The worst audition she ever had prompts the pertly coy confessional “I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say No,” from “Oklahoma.” but nutty recollections aside, she manages some plaintive renderings with “Over the Rainbow” and a traditional Irish bar room ballad, “The Parting Glass.”
Tom King provides bold and flavorful piano support.