Marrissa Mulder picFollowing a cabaret debut at Don't Tell Mama in 2010, Marissa Mulder went on to win first place in the MetroStar Talent Contest at the Metropolitan Room last year. As part of her prizes, she recently received a four week run at the club which has been recorded by Miranda Music and will be a CD release. This gig was part of her reward. And, reward it was for anyone in attendance at her show, Illusions. Few new singers on the current scene have garnered as much well-deserved praise and strong word of mouth as Ms. Mulder has. Last year's debut show, a tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen, was well received.

In this show, directed by Karen Oberlin, Ms. Mulder connected immediately with the room through her natural charisma and inviting presence that was endearing and professional on every level. Opening with a sweetly sung Pure Imagination (Bricusse-Newley) in medley with Never, Never Land (Styne-Comden/Green,) she set the tone of a young lady not quite ready to let go of her childhood and its dreams. This subtle underpinning became the throughline of her show. She even quoted Woody Allen early on, “... what if everything is an illusion?” Thus began her journey in personalized words and music. Delivered with natural poise and confidence, her patter flowed easily and was always just enough. Neophytes often ramble a bit more than necessary. Not Ms. Mulder. And, speaking of confidence, it also takes mettle for a performer to step aside and allow her musicians to show their stuff. This happened several times with great effect throughout the show and was made even better thanks to the quality of the trio with Bill Zeffiro on piano, Pete Anderson on clarinet/sax/flute and John Loehrke on bass. Really top-notch musicians who know their stuff. More importantly, their professionalism and skill enhanced Mulder's beautiful vocals repeatedly. This was particularly in evidence on a silky reading of Cole Porter's Day In, Day Out with a fine clarinet solo and Old Black Magic that gave great bassist Loehrke another chance to shine.

Skillfully directed with subtlety and elan by Karen Oberlin, other highlights included a fun turn with My Kind of Guy, a terrific original dittty by Bill Zeffiro. Some gentle, well-honed scatting worked well on It's Only a Paper Moon (Arlen-Harburg) and Kander and Ebbs' The Money Tree from The Act which showed off a well-controlled belt voice. A sincere Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell, showed diversity, intelligence and sincerity that was compelling as was this special show by one quite new to the arena and showing the promise of big things to come. No “illusions” here, Maria Mulder is the real thing – with miles to go before she's through. 

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0 #1 MR 2012-07-16 14:56
New to the scene, another real, true and incredibly talented performer. She is "a natural", the same on or off stage. Actually singing with Rick Jensen at the Metropolitan room
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