Charlotte Libov’s cabaret I Wrote the Book via Metropolitan Zoom was very enjoyable, thanks to a great set of songs, a unique viewing experience, and her own endearing charm. (NBA: 4/5)
Review by FF2 Associate Nicole Ackman
Charlotte Libov’s cabaret, I Wrote the Book opened with her singing “Heart” from Damn Yankees, and she certainly has it in spades. Metropolitan Zoom has created an online experience to replicate the community feeling of being at an actual cabaret. So not only did you get to see Libov talking and singing (and looking fabulous in a feather boa), but you also got to see the rest of the audience reacting to her from their little Zoom windows.
Metropolitan Zoom streamed the cabaret live from New York City. Before the show, an email from the company encouraged audience members to dress up and have their drinks and snacks ready. A half-hour before the show starts, you could log onto Zoom to watch the pre-show entertainment videos. Once the show started, part of the experience was seeing other audience members and clapping at the end of every number.
Gretchen Reinhagen directed the show with musical direction and piano by Matthew Martin Ward. There were several different camera angles used, including one to highlight Ward’s fantastic piano playing.
Libov is an author and journalist who is now pursuing her dreams of being a cabaret singer. She’s written for publications including The New York Times and Ladies’ Home Journal and published her first health book in 1993. Since then, she’s published several more books, including The Woman’s Heart Book, and has done numerous public speaking engagements.
Her debut cabaret performance comes thanks to a contest from Metropolitan Zoom. Libov won the chance to put on a virtual cabaret, which set her back on track for her plans interrupted by Covid last year.
In the show, Libov talked about her path to being a performer as well as how her own heart surgery led to her writing about women’s heart health. She highlighted that women’s hearts often aren’t studied or discussed in books about the heart, despite functioning differently from men’s hearts.
Libov put together a fantastic set of songs, most of which are upbeat and all of which are very engaging. From her signature song, “All That Jazz,” to a snappy “Adelaide’s Lament,” to the closing number of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” Libov put a cheerful spin on each of them. The numbers flowed well with Libov’s narrative during and between them, with the cabaret having a fairly quick pace.
Libov told a story about a time when someone told her she needed to sing songs better suited to her voice. But she’s a believer in singing what’s in your heart, so she simply started taking voice lessons and working on improving herself.
What she lacks in vocals, though, she makes up for in spirit. She’s so endearing that it’s hard not to have a good time while watching her. She was clearly having a great time and giving it her all and looking very glam while doing so.
From the story of her heart issues to how she became a singer, Libov painted a picture of perseverance and the importance of following your dreams. It’s fantastic to see a woman with an already illustrious career trying something new and having such a good time doing so. After the past year and a half we’ve had, it was heartwarming to see someone achieving dreams that they thought had been dashed by the pandemic. Plus, watching the supportive comments roll in through the Zoom chat made the experience even better.
I Wrote the Book was a fun cabaret, mostly for the experience of seeing what a great time Libov herself was having. Her charm ensured that the audience enjoyed themselves too and perhaps encouraged them to think about what dreams of theirs it may not be too late to pursue. Best of all, in this time when live performance is still slowly returning and the Delta variant threatens to keep it away for longer, the Zoom cabaret does a solid job at recreating the experience of watching a performance together.
© Nicole Ackman (08/09/21) FF2 Media
Featured Photo: Screenshot by Nicole Ackman on August 6, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Middle Photo: Press material provided by Charlotte Libov. All Rights Reserved.
Bottom Photo: Screenshot by Nicole Ackman on August 6, 2021. All Rights Reserved.