Tonight with Words Outspoken: “Mother Mary Says to Me”

Presented by Club Cafe
Performed, produced and compiled by Meagan Michelson
Accompanied by J. Kathleen Castellanos
Featuring the works of The Beatles, Carol King, Lerner & Lowe, Bonnie Raitt, and more

Saturday, January 20th at 8pm ONLY
Club Cafe
Boston, MA
C.C. on Facebook
Meagan Michelson on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Meagan Michelson delivered a sincere but rowdy tribute last Saturday night at Club Cafe. Mother Mary Says to Me is a love letter to Mary, her Mom. It expressed the kind of gratitude one hopes to share with their own mother figure. I wish I had brought my Mom to see it; MMSTM had the kind of edge my Mumma Geek enjoys, and the heart to put a twinkle in anyone’s eye.   

Through song and monologue, Michelson defines herself as an Everett-grown, Harvard educated, nerd. Growing up and into who she’s meant to be wasn’t pleasant. Through it all, there’s been Mary with a “bloody” in one hand and “whatevah” quotations with the other. With the help of Mary’s life lessons, Michelson came into her own as a woman, a performer and a partner.

The performance begins with “Let It Be:” When I find myself in times of trouble/ Mother Mary comes to me/ Speaking words of wisdom/ Let it be. It’s a fitting introduction from Michelson’s childhood as well as a catchy rendition of a Beatles favorite. Michelson has an invigorating belt that colors her storytelling with a spectrum of colors.

This shading is particularly evident in her rendition of “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” It’s a funny but sad moment of reminiscing on romantic disappointments. We saw hints of it in her smart parody of “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly.” But, her voice’s color really shines in ICMYLM. Michelson turns tradition on its head by using Carol King’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” as her coming out anthem. A pairing with “You’ve Got A Friend” expresses her Mom’s response, and Michelson’s gratitude.

MMSTM is not for everyone. This particular performance included a loud, appreciative audience of friends and family members. They had no qualms about clapping back to Michelson’s friendly jibes. It was like being immersed in a family reunion: awkward for the uninitiated.  

Club Cafe did not temper the sound system to the room. It was playing electric piano and vocals at the same level as its club music. You might not need earplugs at Feinstein’s/54 Below, but you do at Club Cafe.

J. Kathleen Castellanos was excellent on the piano. She has great dexterity as an accompanist that hints at great solo performance technique. She followed Michelson like a dream.

MMSTM is fun. It’s a solid cabaret act that honestly discusses Michelson’s sexual awakenings and yearnings while withholding the TMI. Michelson performs for us with vulnerability and comedic bravada. This performance was sold out – and with good reason. Next time she’s in town, be sure to buy your tickets early.  

Queen’s Note:
We elected a thin-skinned Nazi to the office of the President who is turning our “democracy” into a fascist, totalitarian oligarchy dominated by the 1%. Trump is a monster. His policies, when he names them, are destructive. His narcissistic behavior is more so.

Congressional “negotiators” released a spending bill that saves the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for Humanities, and National Public Radio until September at which time, the President and his impotent cronies may still cut arts funding. It is ever important to remain vigilant. And, for the love of all that’s sacred, keep creating. If you need help, ask for it. Our existence is our resistance. May the force be with you. – KD

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