Reviving the ‘lost song’
Vail, CO, Colorado
VAIL ” There is perhaps no better time to resuscitate the popular American song than Independence Day.
Andrea Marcovicci will deliver the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival’s first cabaret performance tonight.
“I’ll Be Seeing You … Love Songs From World War II” is like a musical scrapbook of songs she rescued from old movies and her mother’s memories of being a torch singer during the war.
To be sure, songs like Frank Sinatra’s “As Time Goes By,” Doris Day’s “Sentimental Journey” or Vera Lynn’s “(There’ll be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover” are entertaining on their own.
But Marcovicci takes it further. She shares the back story on the songs, which she researched for two years after Walter Cronkite, the father of one of her childhood best friends, suggested she put together a World War II-era show. It debuted in 1991, the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, and has been resonating with audiences old and young ever since.
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“There was a lot to write about and the songwriters really rose to the occasion,” Marcovicci said. “They rose to the occasion of trying to give us hope and faith. America has a great nostalgia for this music.”
A black-and-white photo shows Marcovicci’s parents dressed for a night out dancing in New York. They were like Fred and Ginger ” her father, known as the “waltzing doctor,” poses in a suit while her mother, a singer, wears a floor-length gown.
“Although she gave up her career when she had my brother and myself, she always went to work on her voice, and I would go with her to singing lessons,” Marcovicci said. “I became completely fascinated with the songs she sang.”
When Marcovicci was in her 20s, she scored a role in the soap opera “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.”
“I had a great part to play,” she recalled. “She was the first women’s liberationist on daytime television, and I think I was one of the first brunettes because in those days, it seems like everybody was blue-eyed (and) blond.”
That role led to more television parts, including the role of the bitchy Gloria on Berrenger’s ” “Big shoulders and long fingers and deliciously wicked lines,” Marcovicci recalled.
Several movie roles followed, including a part in the 1976 film “The Front” with Woody Allen, but Marcovicci found herself increasingly drawn into the cabaret world.
Long before it was en vogue to sing pop standards and torch songs, Marcovicci began assuming nightclub stages. She haunted clubs like New York City’s Reno Sweeney and the Gardenia Restaurant and Lounge in Los Angeles, and soon she was performing in venues like the Algonquin in New York.
By 1987, cabaret dominated Marcovicci’s career. She even sang at the White House once for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Marcovicci has been a fundamental part of the resurgence of cabaret, and as she puts it, “the archiving of the lost song.” Looking to the future, she plans to celebrate her 60th birthday in November with a new show called “Marcovicci Sing Movies Part Two.”
Throughout her cabaret days, Marcovicci has been a stickler for romance. She has specialized in love songs and even appeared in a column in Playboy magazine advising men on romance (she was fully clothed in the accompanying picture).
In real life, Marcovicci cites her 13-year-old daughter, Alice, as her great love. They live in Studio City, Calif., just down the street from Alice’s father, actor Daniel Reichert.
“I am currently separated from my husband but we share this extraordinary daughter,” Marcovicci said. “We have one of the most remarkable, loving separations that I would like to write a whole book about. He lives down the block very nearby. I see him two, three times a day, There has never been an unkind word, and I love him with all my heart. I believe in romance, so I believe there may be a second chance, a third, a fourth, but right now my life is taken up by the great love of my girl. And that’s a beautiful love.”
High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or email@example.com.