Though her career in musical theatre dates back more than a half-century and she was frequently called upon to sing during the nine-season primetime run of Alice, Linda Lavin is only now, at 74, getting around to her first studio album. Lavin, who has carved out a strong second career as a cabaret headliner, exemplifies the old adage that age is just a number, sounding remarkably fresh and vibrant across these 12 tracks.
She has chosen well, both in terms of songs—balancing show tunes with sturdy standards and a smattering of unexpected selections, including the Trisha Yearwood hit “The Song Remembers When” and Donald Fagen’s “Walk Between Raindrops”—and musical support, wisely opting for Billy Stritch as musical director, arranger and pianist. Stritch has, of late, become the go-to guy for female singers of a certain age, and he appreciates how best to elegantly showcase their talents.
Lavin was, and remains, a first-rate actress, one who knows how to sell a song—much like Stritch’s other frequent musical companions, Christine Ebersole and Liza Minnelli. She introduced “You’ve Got Possibilities,” from the underappreciated musical It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman, on Broadway in 1966 and, 46 years later, lends it every bit as much sass and panache. She rivals Blossom Dearie’s coyness on “Rhode Island Is Famous for You,” and closes with a “Two for the Road” that is reimagined as the into-the-sunset conclusion of a lifelong romance.