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Review: Susanne Mack “Where I Belong” at Pangea
Singer Susanne Mack’s new show WHERE I BELONG, playing at Pangea, the best cabaret room in town, is a diverse mix of song and story that continually emphasizes our basic human need for authentic connection to both place and people. Ms. Mack knows something about belonging. In the opening moments of the show, she proudly announced she’d just become a legal resident alien, having emigrated from Germany to New York in 2008. She also spent 10 years living in Switzerland and enlightens us on the differences between the Germans and the Swiss, including a sweet story about being a kid straddling the dividing line between the two countries on a bridge over the Rhine River, having one foot in Germany and one in Switzerland. This is a great metaphor for what she delivers to us in WHERE I BELONG. With songs mainly from the 1960’s and 1980’s, ranging from Joe Jackson, The Beatles and David Bowie to obscure gems the charming Ms. Mack sings with sincerity and a warm open heart, musically bridging the voids of being lost or separate. Her voice is an appealing mixture of huskiness in the lower register and sweetness on her high notes plus an occasional natural quaver, adding vulnerability to her singing. And she is fortunate to have the wonderful Paul Greenwood as her musical director and pianist, who also contributes the occasional back up vocal.
Early in her new show at Pangea, Where I Belong, German-born singer Susanne Mack tells about growing up along the Swiss-German border. She speaks of being fascinated by a bridge with a line down the middle—a border marker that you could straddle so that your left foot was in one country and your right in another, leaving you in a neither/nor situation. It’s the perfect metaphor for her show’s theme. Mack talks—and sings—about the whole construct of “belonging.” What is it that makes people feel that they are at home? And what prevents them from having a sense of belonging? Are some feelings of alienation inevitable, or do people put up emotional barriers that prevent them from feeling that they can fit in?
Susanne Mack performing at
Joe Gustern's Tribute Concert
Mr. Gustern spent over eight years in productions of the
Barbara Maier Gustern will produce a cabaret benefit June 27
at Pangea in New York City in memory of her husband, actor Joe Gustern, who passed away April 28. Mr. Gustern, who performed numerous classical and musical theatre roles in a 50-year stage career, spent over eight of those years in the touring and Broadway companies of The Phantom of the Opera. He retired
The evening, which will benefit the animal rescue shelter farm Spring Farm CARES, will feature the talents of Tammy-Faye Starlite, Barbara Bleier, Austin Pendleton, Suzanne Mack, Nancy Magarill, Jenny Lee Mitchell, Gay Marshall, Rachelle Garnier,
Jan Horvath, Eric Schmalenberger, Kimalee Bryant, AJ Gustern, Hector Uberry, Pamela Winslow Kashani, Suzanne Hwang, Bess Morrison, Carol Scarimbas, Sophia Rei, Jill Cohen, Betsyann Faiella, and Beth Black Robinson. Pianist Maria deSenna will accompany. Show time is 7 PM.
Susanne Mack at Hauser & Wirth
PLEASE JOIN US FOR AN EVENING
OF REFLECTIONS ON AUGUST SANDER
Susanne Mack, Vocals
John Dipinto, Accordion
Helga Davis enacting words by Hilton ALS
Refreshment will be served.
RSVP IS REQUIRED.
WEDNESDAY 31 MAY
HAUSER & WIRTH
32 EAST 69TH STREET
NEW YORK, NY 10021
Susanne Mack performing at the United Solo
I am excited to perform my show
Reconciliation at the United Solo!
2017 United Solo is the world’s largest solo theatre festival, currently in its 8th season. All shows are staged at Theatre Row: 410 West 42nd Street, New York City. TICKETS, with a price of $35 (plus a $2.25 theatre restoration charge) are available at the Theatre Row Box Office and online through Telecharge at www.telecharge.com. You may also call Telecharge at 212-239-6200. When placing your reservation, you need to provide: the FESTIVAL name (United Solo Theatre Festival), the name of THEATRE (Theatre Row – The Studio Theatre), and the specific DAY and TIME of SHOW (September 15, 9.00 pm, Reconciliation) you would like to see."
Susanne Mack in "Bistro Awards"
Anyone who can legitimately include the Patsy Cline country standard “I Fall to Pieces” (Hank Cochran, Harlan Howard) in a show about a German girlhood near the Black Forest certainly has my admiration as well as my attention. Susanne Mack accomplished that and more in her recent compelling outing at Pangea (directed by Gretchen Cryer). Combining a beautifully curated, eclectic list of both German and American songs with just the right amount of narration, Mack told her early life story—with an admirable lack of bitterness or self-pity, although she had ample reason for both. Her singing throughout the autobiographical set, whether suitably declarative or appropriately subtle, was a joy to listen to. She had solid underpinning from musical director and pianist Tracy Stark, and John DiPinto on accordion; both musicians also provided effective backup vocals.
Susanne Mack in "StageBuddy"
Susanne Mack is luminous in her new show RECONCILIATION, a gripping personal story interspersed with an eclectic choice of songs, as she tells us of growing up in a small town in Germany searching to find out who her father was and surrounded by secrets. The show is a deeply moving musical memoir beautifully directed by Gretchen Cryer that had the audience in stunned disbelief at times. Ms. Mack first began to explore this story in Ms. Cryer’s “Writing for Solo Performance” class and they worked together to shape and hone a story that not only reflects Ms. Mack’s heart-wrenching journey but also throws a broader light upon Germany’s attitudes and consciousness after World War II. Throughout Ms. Mack's beautifully constructed narrative, rich in imagery and truthfulness, a diverse selection of music in both German and English plays counterpoint to the story. With porcelain skin, striking blue eyes and softly streaked blond hair framing her expressive, finely featured face, Ms. Mack exudes a classic glamour: the kind of woman who wears a French twist with élan. Her unique presence evokes the dark aching vocal qualities of Marlene Dietrich, the natural elegance of Grace Kelly and the spunk of a German Doris Day. Her alto voice is able to access to perfection a tremor or quaver of an emotional cry that she uses to her advantage singing ballads.