There are only two cabaret artists who are currently performing and have their own playlists on my iPod, and Lisa Asher is one of them. Asher’s current show at The Duplex is a sensational evening, characterized by her remarkably versatile voice and ability to make every song a fully rendered dramatic experience.
Her song selections range widely—Bob Dylan, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Janis Ian, Cole Porter and Joni Mitchell—and she brings to each of them the spark of her own interpretations, wonderful presence and superlative technique.
Asher is delightful doing a medley from “Cinderella,” oddly touching doing “Son of a Preacher Man,” and heart-wrenching doing Craig Carnelia’s “Just a Housewife.” She is unstinting in her examination of the songs, and tremendously generous in her presentation. She even changed my mind about a song I’ve always loathed, Porter’s “Love for Sale.” Asher delivered it with a kind of brassy cynicism that comes across faked, covering a broken spirit, which gave a poignancy to the song I’ve never heard before.
That’s the kind of magic Asher is capable of.