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Show Business Weekly Review

By: David Hurst

Reagan Stone, a performer who 'retired young' from musical theatre, brought an abundance of talent and charm to her cabaret debut this month at Don't Tell Mama. Playing up her southern roots with an innocent sassiness, she recalls Kristin Chenoweth who she could easily be related to in both looks and manner. With a sparkling voice and an unaffected personality, Stone is as precious as she is beguiling.

Possessing a crystal-clear soprano that's both lovely and accurate, Stone's programming was impressive for a newcomer, encompassing a diverse collection of standards and contemporary pieces that were refreshing to hear. Fred Silver's "Small Town Boy (Girl)" (In Gay Company) and Alan Menken & David Silver's "Stop and See Me" (Weird Romance) were especially good choices that allowed Stone to showcase her considerable acting skills.

Similarly, although I've heard Menken's ode to lox, "Pink Fish," many times before, no one pulls it off quite like Stone.

With her combination of kewpie-doll genuineness and down-home delivery, she makes the silly song work which is no mean feat. Throughout, her patter and staging, smoothly directed by veteran Scott Barnes, were natural and suited her perfectly as did David Brunetti's brisk and tuneful musical arrangements.

Towards the end of Stone's show, the reason for her early departure from performing is revealed to be a diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited eye disease that eventually leads to blindness. Unsurprisingly, Stone's no-nonsense approach to her illness places the emphasis on life, love and moving forward. Truly, she's a profile in courage from which we could all learn a thing or two. Catch her final performance Friday, August 1st at 7:00 pm.