By James DeFrances
Hollywood, CA. The Sally Kellerman show came to town in a big way last Wednesday night at Catalina Bar & Grill. The multi-talented Academy Award nominated actress, singer and artist extraordinaire wowed the capacity crowd as they watched her soar gracefully across the stage and through the music with her trio.
It may have been a while since she brought Hot Lips Houlihan to life in the film M*A*S*H in 1970 and her first album was released in1972. But she’s as dynamic as ever. Stage presence is a word that comes to mind when watching Kellerman perform. She employs every square inch of the platform, leaving no side of the audience unattended to. As I glanced around the room I could see that all eyes were glued on Sally at almost every point of the evening.
In fact, it would have been virtually impossible to avoid being captivated by the magic she was generating at Catalina’s in this mesmerizing performance.
The packed house show’s patrons included notables such as legendary songsmith Mike Stoller, and Kellerman dedicated a segment of the show to his songs with Jerry Lieber. Difficult as it was to single out a high point I would have to say it came when the Leiber-Stoller set began. All of a sudden her otherwise entranced listeners began snapping their fingers and mouthing the words along with Kellerman.
She sang tunes such as “Love Potion #9,” and what was easily the most poignant song of the night, the heart wrenching Peggy Lee staple, “Is That All There Is?” You could hear a pin drop at the end of the Lieber and Stoller classic, a song whose rich emotional narrative is a challenge to the finest vocalists. But this was where Kellerman’s acting talents were on full display.
On this engaging evening some of the greatest songs from the last half century were on tap, and Sally made sure to pour a tall glass. Other noteworthy tunes in this musical libation included songs like Burt Bacharach’s “Walk on By” and “The Look of Love” and an Atlanta Rhythm Section reminiscent “Spooky.”
When the end finally came, no one was ready to leave, with the instant standing ovation demanding an encore. And Kellerman responded with an additional offering, concluding the show by performing Peter Cetera and David Foster’s 1986 power ballad “Glory of Love.”
Sally Kellerman’s uniquely textured voice, energetic stage presence and undeniable charms are just a few of the many reasons that fans have been sold on her throughout her long, stellar career. And after seeing this show, I too am buying in!
Photos by James DeFrances.
* * * * * * * *
To read more reviews by (and about) James DeFrances click HERE.