by Steve Murray ForAllEvents.info February 25, 2018
Feinstein’s At the Nikko, San Francisco, CA, February 25, 2018
I’ve been watching entirely too much Olympic coverage this week. I found myself grading Lucie Arnaz’s show like I was a judge; technical merit, skill, choreography, music, costume. I was looking for deductions and found none. Lucie gets a perfect 10.0 for this sparkling, emotionally riveting, well-crafted evening. Every component was spot on – the song selection, the accompaniment, her deliveries and even her gorgeous coral chiffon gown and well-chosen jewelry.
Blessed with the genes of legendary showbiz parents, these days Lucie is trumpeting the legacy of father Desi Arnaz, reprising her sold out Feinstein shows of 2016 which resulted in a live CD recording. The show is a loving homage to Desi, exhibiting Lucie’s pride and admiration for her father and mentor. Opening with the fast-paced “Rumba Matumba”, Lucie takes the audience by the scruff of the neck and drags you along with her on a ride through her Latin heritage. Irving Berlin suggests a bender in Havana in “I’ll See You in C-U-B-A” before Lucie launches into a medley of Latin location songs including her father’s cover of “You Can in Yucatan”.
Interwoven between the anecdotes of Desi’s multi-talents and many achievements, Lucie shares some wonderful musical stories about her growing up; her adolescent crush on Wayne Newton (“Johnny Angel”) and her first date with future husband Larry Luckinbill (“Blame it on the Bossa Nova”). The latter as well as a medley highlighting her backup band (“Slap That Bass”, “Drum Crazy” and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”) showcases Lucie’s supreme artistry, skill and talents. Her voice pitch perfect, her phrasing impeccable, her stage persona warm and congenial.
More highlights included “Quizás, quizás, quizás” (Osvaldo Farrés) and a stunning Billy Stritch arrangement of “It’s All Right” (Cole Porter) / ”Something Gotta Give” (Johnny Mercer). Backed by longtime friend/arranger/composer Ron Abel on keys, Patrick Klobas on bass, David Rokeach on percussion and Jonathan Monahan on guitars, Arnaz not only celebrates the music of her father and his influences on her, but also provides a master class on the art of entertaining, whether it be before a large audience backed by a symphony or the intimate confines of Feinstein’s.
A consummate, versatile multi-talent like her famous parents, this show is one of the finest cabaret offerings you’ll have the pleasure of attending. When she launches into an incendiary cover of Ernesto Lecouna’s “El Cubanchero”, you see a seasoned entertainer totally in command of her material, exuding confidence, passion and pride.