Crowe is Heaven!
vocalist Joan Crowe took The Manor by storm last Thursday
with her one-woman show, “The Devil in Miss Joan”—and
served up one hell of a good time!
Crowe mixed a little bit of
every thing in her act, from blues to show tunes to
folk to old standards, demonstrating her versatility
and range in the too short -show.
After beginning the show in
a white choir robe, singing “Jesus Loves Me,”
the devilishly divine Miss Joan tossed her pristine
raiment aside to reveal a slinking, beaded red gown,
the perfect attire for the songs to follow. Her “I
Want to Be Evil” got things in gear with it bluesy,
gritty feel, “I Love to Smoke,” a tongue-in-cheek
tribute to lighting up, followed before Crowe propped
herself a top the grand piano and turned a flower vase
into an impromptu hookah. Combining the giddy soul of
Fats Waller’s “Viper Drag” with the
slinkiness of Michelle Pfeiffer in “The Fabulous
Baker Boys, “ Crowe committed her ultimate musical
blasphemy—“It’s Good to be God”
by Charles Bloom—proving her razor-sharp wit is
on an equal footing with her vocal prowess. The number
stopped the show!
Her material and patter covered
a gamut of topics, from sex to bad habits to being just
plain ol’ mean. “Shatter illusions”
was delivered with just the right amount of self-awareness,
while her “Mean Woman Blues” shook the house
and featured some hot piano-playing by Tedd Firth.
Among the highlights of the
night was Crowe’s rendition of “Me and Mrs.
Jones,” which was given an entirely new spin with
a woman’s perspective, and benefited enormously
from the heartbreaking tenderness Crowe invested into
the interpretation. Crowe said at one point, “I
think truly that the wickedest sins are the sins that
we commit against ourselves, like doubt or self-loathing
or regret.” With that, she put her story-telling
skills into overdrive on “Lullaby in Blue,”
followed later by “Lie to Me” and the tear-jerking
story of her son asking if there really was a Santa
Claus. On each song, Crowe’s vocal quality beautifully
supported the acting intention of the piece, making
each number a one-act show within itself.
A wonder to behold Joan Crowe
will have you laughing one minute and dabbing at tears
the next, all without resorting to cheap theatrical
She may have a little of the
devil in her, but there’s a seat reserved in music
heaven with Joan Crowe’s name on it!