Photo by Eric Stephen Jacobs

PRESS

“Deb Berman has turned her attention lately to directing and worked wonders with a talent who blossomed under that open mic’s helpfully nurturing light, Kati Neiheisel. I caught her a few times, charting progress and growing confidence and stronger stage presence. Having caught the debut of the Berman-guided Neiheisel act at Don’t Tell Mama, Among the Stars, I was exponentially impressed. Now serenely at ease on stage and her appealing singing voice and personality well presented, Kati Neiheisel returns to the venue on December 21. The set list, featuring many a song about stars and a few selections from the Barbra Streisand-starring A Star Is Born, is smart and interesting. Gregory Toroian’s musical direction is sterling. I was happily lost in the stars and give this up-and-coming singing star-in-training an enthusiastic recommendation.”

Rob Lester, NiteLifeExchange.com

“I was curious to get the point of view of someone relatively new to cabaret, so, naturally, I turned to one of the nominees in the Debut category. I knew that Kati Neiheisel, whose So Many Stars act was one I was particularly impressed with this year, had truly cut her cabaret teeth song by song at the nominated Open Mic series at the now-closed Metropolitan Room, where she got to know the supportive open mic’s savvy singing co-host Deb Berman, who became her director, and pianist Gregory Toroian, whom she took on as her musical director. I asked the newer cabaret chanteuse what lessons she took away from doing her first full solo act after testing the waters for some time. Her thoughtful reply was, “What I learned from my debut solo show was how much work it takes to create a show! There are so many pieces to the puzzle, and you can only learn by doing. And you certainly can’t do it alone! In addition to collaborating with my dream team musical director and director, I learned so much from so many generous cabaret colleagues over the past six years. Overall, my debut show experience has been a joy! I’ve become a more skilled and confident performer, but also a more grounded and empathic person for being part of the cabaret community.”

Rob Lester, CabaretScenes.org

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” closes another December show, this one thoroughly holiday-specific. Kati Neiheisel, newish to the cabaret scene, is a major fan of Christmas music and, even if she didn’t say so, I have a feeling that you’d get that feeling with “That Holiday Feeling,” her act that left me feeling—well, merry. Sentiment is not sent away, but things never get anywhere near as sticky as icky melted candy canes. You believe her joy when she breezes her way through any of her three Irving Berlin songs (No, not “White Christmas”), she is loving and warm (“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm”), or grateful to the max (“Plenty to Be Grateful For”), or looking forward with optimism (“Let’s Start the New Year Right”). The repertoire is an eclectic mix, including things as old as carols and as recent as a few years ago (“To Be Together” by Amy Grant and Chris Eaton). With a 1970s classic, “Merry Christmas, Darling,” capable Kati, with her versatile musical tool-kit, saw her path to carve a special way through Carpenters territory, nailing the essence without hammering us over the head with the absence that makes the heart grow fonder. She respects the original blueprint but is no phone-it-in clone. Her voice impresses as the show proceeds and deepens (and it’s her deep tones and strong ending sustained ones that are especially “note”-worthy). Working with bassist Skip Ward and drummer David Silliman, musical director/pianist/arranger Gregory Toroian — a true Christmas song connoisseur/collector/appreciator — creates fond settings that allow all kinds of genres to sparkle, from “Silver Bells” (which rings true) to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Me” (Ron Miller/ William O’Malley), a Motown bauble. Singer friends Linda Jackson and Janice McCune add their vocals for texture and harmony and each gets a solo spot, too. Directed with style and spirit by Geoff Stoner, this Christmas banquet returned to Don’t Tell Mama on Saturday, December 14.”

Rob Lester, EdgeMediaNetwork.com