Molly Pope: The Diva-lution of Molly Pope

Photograph: Beau Alluli

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

Molly Pope is the next big thing of 1963. From the moment she strides onto the stage, she transports the audience back to the thriving Greenwich Village nightclub scene of yesteryear, where girl singers with big, robust voices and gumption to match took their first bold steps up the ladder to stardom. Her movements are stylized, her phrasing precise, but what sets Pope apart is her viscerally thrilling alto: a rich gusher of sound that emerges from the charming 26-year-old like a full-on blast from the past.

The homey midtown cabaret Don’t Tell Mama is an incubator for new talent, but rarely does it hatch a chick with this much to offer. Although it is easy to imagine Pope on the The Ed Sullivan Show, her act isn’t fully bracketed in irony or nostalgia: Somehow, her defiantly retro style—which happily recalls such secret-softy broads as Dolores Gray and early Barbra Streisand—seems to have come to her naturally as a child growing up in suburban Pittsburgh. “They don’t make us like they used to,” she laments in the show. “Which accounts for the scarcity of roles.” True enough—but it also accounts for the special kick of spending time with this rare songbird. She’s got the stuff, and there may be a ladder for her yet.

—Adam Feldman

Don’t Tell Mama; Fri 18, Apr 25