by Lynn on July 31, 2020

in The Passionate Playgoer

What: Gabi Epstein presents an intimate evening of songs and stories.


When: Streaming on demand until Sat. Aug. 1, 7:30.

Why: It’s Gabi Epstein. She’s talented. That’s reason enough to watch and hear. And it’s in collaboration with the Harold Green Jewish Theatre.

Who: Gabi Epstein is joined by Avery Saltzman, the co-artistic director of the Harold Green Jewish Theatre who sings as well and beautifully. She was ably accompanied by Mark Camilleri.

Gabi Epstein, singer-actress-extraordinaire—put on a concert from the comfort of her own home through the magic of digital transmission, on Wed. July 29 (it will be available for streaming until Sat. Aug. 1 at 7:30 pm). Kudos to Stream Stage (Daniel Abrahamson and Kayla James) for the technical expertise of great sound and lighting. The concert was in collaboration with the Harold Green Jewish Theatre, who gave Epstein her start really after she graduated university.

Epstein has a powerful singing voice, a natural charm and an affinity for the stage. It seems to run in the family. Her mother is writer Kathy Kacer and her brother is sing-actor Jake Epstein.

The programme was made up of mainly Broadway songs: “On My Own”, “The Music that Makes Me Dance”, “Beautiful”,  “Waving Through a Window.” “I Feel Pretty,”

Gabi Epstein has a close connection for the music of Barbra Streisand—she’s done benefits for the Harold Green Jewish Theatre on a Streisand theme and she’s starred in a production of Funny Girl in Montreal. So naturally a lot of the music in the program centred on music from Funny Girl: “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” “Second Hand Rose”, “People”, “My Man.” Epstein sings with a strong voice and keen understanding of what the songs mean. Her performances of these songs are never an imitation of Streisand, but rather are Epstein’s own rendering of them. Her patter between songs is confident, humourous and full of charm.

Her duets with Avery Saltzman (“Almost Like Being In Love”, “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart”) are effortless and show the lovely friendship and respect each has for the other. And Saltzman’s performance of “Being Alive” is full of conviction and emotion.

Epstein did a brave thing—she called for and got suggestions of songs to sing from the ‘listening’ audience. Then she and Mark Camilleri fashioned them into a smart, cohesive medley that began and ended thoughtfully.

There was applause from the ‘three people in the room:” her husband Jeremy Lapalme and Daniel Abrahamson and his wife Kayla James (the last two taking care of tech duty).

As with these intimate affairs the folks in the room laugh loud at everything to keep things buoyant. I thought that might have been a bit of overkill by her devoted husband Jeremy—they’ve been married a year. But I realize that the boisterous laugher was from Daniel Abrahamson which is excusable because he and Kayla James got married only last week so he was probably still giddy about the whole thing.

A quibble is that occasionally the register of a few songs are too high to sound comfortable for Gabi Epstein. This is easily remedied.

On the whole, Gabi Epstein is a natural singing, acting talent. She loves the stage and performing and it shows. She has an natural connection with her audience and the result is irresistible.

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1 judy franklin July 31, 2020 at 10:34 pm

Yes saw Gabi and completely agree with you. thanks for lovely comments.