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The Polish Diva From Milwaukee
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Click here for Bobby Tanzilo's OnMilwaukee.com's review - January 2005

Click here for Milwaukee JS Online Review by Crocker Stephenson - October 2004

Reviewed by Barbara & Scott Siegel

Cabaret Hotline Online

Terry Palasz is a musical comedy performer with more tools than Black & Decker. Its no wonder, then, that she nails every number in a nutty biographical tour of her life. She opens her show at Don't Tell Mama with a tune written for her by John Engerman called "Fugitive From Milwaukee," and that establishes who Palasz is and what her show is about with swift and amusing economy. From the very start we can see this act is less Polish than polished. From a voice that moves easily from brassy Broadway to operatic soprano, to a daredevil's willingness to commit to (and pull off) outrageous choreography, she uses her act, The Polish Diva From Milwaukee, to showcase her compelling musical theater talents. Under the unerring direction of Lennie Watts, this is one of the most impressive musical comedy debuts we've seen on a cabaret stage in a very long time.

Adept at playing characters, Palasz gives us a gallery of family members, singing songs like "Everybody Eats When They Come to My House" as her garrulous Aunt Mickie. Then there's a combination of "Where the Bee Sucks" and "Be My Little Baby Bumblebee" performed as her adventures English Aunt. Singing a lot of unknown songs like these can be a danger in a cabaret act, but Palasz chooses her fresh material wisely, breaking rules and breaking up the audience with a tune like "Who Stole the Keeshka Polka." And when she does sing familiar tunes, she breaks yet another taboo by singing them within the confines of two long medleys. It happens, however, that the medley's are brilliantly constructed and put over with considerable panache. So much for rules. The only rules, therefore, are making sure your show is well written, well crafted, and that you have talent to burn.

One of the gifts Palasz has is a great face. She's a striking beauty with extraordinarily expressive eyes. When she opens those orbs wide the comic effect is stunning; she looks like a young and beautiful version of Ruth Williamson. When she flutters her bedroom eyes, half-closed and sultry, she looks like the young Joan Crawford but with a comically dangerous edge. The point is you just have to look at her; her face commands attention, as does her talent. Terry Palasz has come out of nowhere (Milwaukee) to make her mark in New York. She's Milwaukee's loss and our gain.

DON'T TELL MAMA is located at 343 West 46th Street, NYC - 212-757-0788 - http://www.donttellmama.com/

Copyright 2001 by Barb & Scott Siegel

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