Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For the love of Miss Peggy Lee

By Meredith Deliso

Watch out — this show will give you fever.

Peggy Lee lives again in a Bay Ridge cabaret that will have men and women impersonating the blonde, smoky-voiced legend.

On April 3, the Scandinavian East Coast Museum hosts a tribute to the incomparable jazz singer, actress and songwriter with a variety of song-and-dance numbers.

“She’ll be turning over in her grave if she saw my replica of her,” said Bob Carlson, 71, who will be donning a blonde wig, dress, sombrero and a beauty mark on his right cheek for a lip-synched rendition of “Mañana.” “I hope I don’t get wrapped up in one of my boas.”

The Bay Ridgite will be accompanied by four female dancers in drag as he dances and interacts with the audience.

“My whole life has been a party, I always like to have fun,” said Carlson. “Peggy Lee had a feel for life, too. She had a terrific sense of humor.”

In addition to songs like “Mañana,” the cabaret will span the length of Lee’s varied career, from her early penned pieces like “What More Can a Woman Do,” recorded by Sarah Vaughan and Dizzy Gillespe and Charlie Parker, and hits including “Fever” and “Is That All There Is?” to projects like the soundtrack for Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp” (where she did both voices in “The Siamese Cat Song,” purring and all).

“You can see the breadth of what she did, from Benny Goodman to the 1980s,” said Museum founder Victoria Hofmo, who decided to put the cabaret together after learning Lee was of Scandinavian heritage (plus, who wouldn’t want to put together a Peggy Lee tribute?). “The style changes a lot, but she always has an amazing voice.”

Audience members are also invited to participate in a look-a-like contest, where the winner gets $50. And there may be a few other surprises in store, as well.

“As far as I know, Miss Piggy was fashioned after Peggy Lee,” said Hofmo. “So Miss Piggy might be there, too.”

Peggy Lee tribute at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church [440 Ovington Ave. at Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge, (718) 748-9502], April 3, 3-7 pm. Tickets $35 (includes appetizers, drinks and dessert). Reservations recommended. To sign up for the look-alike contest, call (718) 748-5950.

Photo by Steve Solomonson


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