Landmark on Main Street’s 2012-2013 season opened with shrieks of laughter as Sandra Bernhard took to the stage as part of Landmark’s new “Landmark Laughs” comedy series.
Bernhard, a multi-talented performer, was accompanied by a trio of musicians (pianist, drummer and guitarist), and opened the show with the song “Different Drum,” originally done by Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Ponies. Bernhard has a surprising powerful voice. So powerful, in fact, that in some of the later numbers, for example “Before the Parade Passes By” from Hello Dolly or the oddly chosen “Eres Tu” by Mocedades, I thought I might be blown out of my seat. Bernhard’s voice is powerful in the way of a cabaret singer, or possibly Ethel Merman – a full-out, all-in performance.
Bernhard’s show was made up of sarcastic, smart, and witty monologues, interspersed with musical numbers. She was at her absolute best when talking about politics, her dislike for Trader Joe’s, and what it’s like to be a working mom of a 14-year old daughter. Her impression of Tyra Banks on America’s Next Top Model was spot-on and hilarious, as was her musical impression of Lady Gaga doing “The Edge of Glory.”
The comedian added a local touch by describing a trip to Port Washington with her daughter to adopt a puppy from the North Shore Animal League. One of Bernhard’s funniest skits involved the dress she was wearing – a glamorous black sequined cocktail dress that had unlikely pockets on the sides. Bernhard is a seasoned performer who knows when jokes are working and when they aren’t (like a joke about Taylor Momsen which failed because no one in the audience seemed to be familiar with the young actress). Berhard had the sense in this situation to just say “go home and Google her” and move on to a topic, such as motherhood, that the audience could relate to.
She closed her show with a booming version of another unlikely choice – REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” and then came out afterwards to meet fans and sign CDs. All in all, a great start to what promises to be a great season.
This was the first of a new comedy series at Landmark.
“As a community center, we reach out to our patrons and ask what performers and types of shows they'd like to see here at Landmark,” said Sharon Maier-Kennelly, Landmark’s Executive Director. “Comedy was requested, so we responded with a new series we're calling Landmark Laughs. We're really excited about the series, and especially opening our performing arts season with the Queen of Comedy, Sandra Bernhard.”
The second show in the comedy series will be “Big and Tall: An Evening of Comedy with Bruce Vilanch & Judy Gold” on January 19th, 2013.
For ticket information, visit www.landmarkonmainstreet.org.