Notes From the Left Coast: Nancy Dussault at The Gardenia

By Don Heckman

The Gardenia, Tom Rolla’s cozy Hollywood cabaret club can always be counted on to provide a captivating evening of music. And Nancy Dussault’s performance Friday night did all that and a lot more.

The versatile, Tony Award-nominated Dussault’s far-ranging musical theatre career reaches from The Sound of Music and Do Re Mi to  Into the Woods and  By Side By Side By Sondheim. Add to that her high visibility television sitcom appearances in The Dick Van Dyke Show, Too Close For Comfort and The Good Morning America show.

Nancy Dussault
Nancy Dussault

All of which underscored a performance by Dussault at The Gardenia that coursed through a delightful blend of song, humor and satire.

Dussaull structured her show in the style of a musical memoir, choosing many selections from shows she has done, often underscoring them with references to high (and less high) events in her life on the musical stage.

Starting with “Cock-eyed Optimist,” she went on to include “Life Upon the Wicked Stage” “Get Me To the Church On Time” (followed closely by “I’m Not Getting Married Today”), “Follow the Fellow Who Follows the Dream,” “This Nearly Was Mine,” “I Am A Captain’s Daughter” and “Make Someone Happy.”

And that was only a partial segment of Dussault’s extraordinary collection of song, all of it delivered with a dramatic effectiveness and comedic style thoroughly illuminating her mastery of great musical theatre.

In one of the high points of her set, she soared through a colorful pastiche of songs  and segments that included “Shall We Dance,” “Alice Blue Gown,” “I’m So Lucky To Me Me,” “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” “C’es’t Mangnifique” and “I’m Flying.” The effect was extraordinary, another display of stunning musicality

At the close of her program, Dussault added “I Love A Piano” to acknowledge the superb backing provided by pianist Christopher Marlow.

Call it another evening to remember at the Gardenia. Enjoying the mesmerizing theatrical qualities of Dussault’s performance was also a reminder of the rarity of such cabaret and musical theatre pleasures in the Southland. So don’t miss Nancy Dussault’s final appearance at the Gardenia tonight. If the show is sold out, perhaps she, and the Gardenia, can be persuaded to offer a re-run of this remarkable performance.


Photo and Video by Faith Frenz


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