For four nights, Amber Grey at 54 Below projected her powerful, resonating voice. She subsequently treated the house to a wide range of music as she performed over 20 songs.
Gray moreover was the original Persephone in Hadestown and nominated for a Tony Award. She earned a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. Besides those honors she played Macbeth as Banquo on Broadway last year.
Full of exuberant energy, Gray opened the show with the moving musical piece Devil’s Gonna Rise Up, written by Abigail and Shaun Bengson. Musical director, Cody Owen Stine, accompanied Grey on the accordion. The song is a haunting, almost spiritual tune, showcased in The National Theatre of Scotland’s performance of Anything That Gives Off Light. That show was created in response to the Scottish independence referendum several years ago and involved the Scottish-US relationship throughout history. Her style of singing gave the song great depth.
Gray’s performance of White Rabbit, music and lyrics by Grace Slick, was an outstanding recreation, especially when combined with Stine’s expertise on the accordion. Those in attendance rewarded the two performers with a hearty round of applause.
Gray, performed one of Jacques Brel’s most iconic songs, If You Go Away, with a deep, sad voice. Her version moreover emphasized the immeasurable pain when lovers break up, with one begging to do whatever is necessary for one more moment together. The piano chords pleaded as they accompanied Gray’s heartfelt melody. She sang another Brel song, Ay Marieke, Marieke, in several languages, affirming her astonishing talent.
Gray next told the audience she would transition and performed Tragic Mulatto, which was “written by the love of my life,” Andre’ De Shields, a Tony Award winner for his role as Hermes in Hadestown. She and Stine then performed music written by Karen Dalton, Anais Mitchell, and Heather Christian.
Grandma’s Hands, Bill Withers’ song written about his grandmother who was born into slavery, is a spiritual Gray performed like the reverent praise it was. Stine’s piano accompaniment was superb, and the crowd acknowledged the religious devotional.
Gray gave a shout-out to her family members in-house and said, “We’re winding down,” as she performed her final two choices, Ghost of Corporate Future and Give Love. Her finale was met with a standing ovation in praise of the gifts Gray shared with the audience.
Amber Grey at 54 Below
54 Below, Broadway’s Supper Club, 254 West 54th Street, New York City. Tickets can be purchased at 54 Below or by calling the box office at 646-476-3551.