Cabaret Scenes Review


Julie Budd gave a bravura performance of power and passion to a sold-out house at the Metropolitan Room. Unlike her last appearance here when she focused on songs by Dorothy Fields, for this two-night engagement she simply chose songs she likes to sing.

The program contained a number of showstoppers. “With One Look” (Andrew Lloyd Weber/Don Black/Christopher Hampton) provided a great vehicle for this petite powerhouse’s beauteous belt and great vocal range. To the cabaret standard, “Being Alive” (Stephen Sondheim) she brought a compelling strength and her own special meaning. Also moving was her beautiful interpretation of “Tears from Heaven” (Eric Clapton/Will Jennings). Her comedic skills and Brooklyn roots converged in a funny “He Had Refinement,” originally introduced by Shirley Booth in the musical A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Arthur Schwartz/Dorothy Fields).

Throughout the show, Budd reminisced about her career, which started at age twelve in the Catskills. Soon, she was performing in Las Vegas because, as she said, “Nevada had no child labor laws.” During the nostalgic “Looking Back” (written by her conductor Herb Bernstein), were projections of photos tracing her career – showing her with Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante, Ed Sullivan, Liberace and many more.

Her engaging presence and rapport with the audience were most evident at the end of the show, when in “I’ll Be Seeing You” – she sang an incorrect lyric—“In that small hotel”—and several audience members helped, calling out the right word: “café.” Budd stopped singing, laughed, thanked the audience, and said – “See, this is why I play New York!” – and then went on with her song.

We cabaret lovers can only hope Julie Budd plays New York a lot more frequently in the future.

Candace Leeds – Cabaret Scenes


At the Empire Plush Room, Julie entertained a very appreciative audience for 90 minutes with classic standards and show songs. The Brooklyn belter with the showstopping voice has an amazing range. Her voice has no limits with a wonderful tender vibrato. She has mastered the sense of phrasing each number, whether it’s a tender ballad or a showstopping song in the Ethel Merman style. She draws listeners into her lyrics. As a New York Times reviewer said “Julie Budd belts with the unguarded force of a diva.”

Ms. Budd has an eclectic mix of wonderful songs in this show, starting with a smooth arrangement of Newley and Bricusse’s “Pure Imagination.” She segues immediately into Styne, Comden and Green’s “Never Never Land.” Her rendition of the Edith Piaf song, “If You Love Me,” is sublime.

Stephen Sondheim is represented, with Budd’s great version of “Being Alive,” and she pays tribute to the legendary Oscar Hammerstein II through five songs, with smooth segues into each melody. She really belts out the melody of Hammerstein and Jerome Kern’s “Bill.” It is a heartrending version.

Julie really swings to a big band beat with the old Harry James song, “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” then goes immediately into the soft and romantic “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows,” which one seldom hears these days. Julie’s fans really go wild when she sings Randy Edelman’s “Weekend in New England.”

Cole Porter is brilliantly presented in songs from his hit show Anything Goes, immediately followed by songs by Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin and four songs from Rodgers and Hart’s Babes in Arms. These songs did my old Broadway heart good.

Richard Connema, Talkin’ Broadway


Sporting a new shorter hairdo, Julie Budd was adamant about the fact that she was going to sing the songs she loved – theme be damned! Of course, she’s earned the right to sing anything she wants having been in the business since the age of 12 when she started in the Catskills, soon finding herself in Las Vegas as an opening act for Frank Sinatra when she was 16, Jimmy Durante at age 17 and with Liberace and Bill Cosby.

The sensitive story line to opener “Home” began as a quiet mantra, building passionately and segued into a Latin rhythm of “Being Alive,” where Budd’s big, grand and powerful vocals started to soar. From there, she covered a multitude of songs including Gershwin treasures “Someone To Watch Over Me/I’ve Got Rhythm,” always attentive to good diction. There’s no doubt, this gal is blessed with one great pair of lungs!

A particular favorite, “Tears in Heaven” (Eric Clapton), explored more tender and soft expanses.

She swung on “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” and displayed particular charm when she sang “He Had Refinement” (from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn).

A tribute medley to one of her favorite songwriter-performers, Anthony Newley, offered up “Who Can I Turn To,” “What Kind of Fool Am I,” Once in a Lifetime” and “If I Ruled the World.”

Closing with an intertwined “Best of Times” and “I Am What I Am,” the audience, applauding vigorously, gave her a standing ovation asking for more to which she readily accommodated.

Sandi Durell – Times Square Chronicles


At the end of Julie Budd’s performance tonight at New York’s Metropolitan Room, one regular New York cabaret patron said to me: “There is one word to describe what we just saw. Fabulous!” That pretty much sums it up for me, too. Julie Budd is one of the best singer actresses I’ve ever seen and heard on a cabaret or Broadway stage.

In the end, I will say that this show was one of the best cabaret performances I’ve ever seen. I left this performance feeling great and on the kind of a high I don’t always feel from a show unless it is truly moving.

Danielle Miceli – New York Cabaret Today


The show is called “Pure Imagination” – I call it “Pure Magic”. Julie Budd at the Empire Plush room is not just singing but reinventing old standards in a new way. Early in the show Budd did a thrilling rendition of “If You Love Me”, followed by a vibrant version of Sondheims “Being alive”. In the Richard Rodgers segment she touched everyone in the audience with a heartfelt “Hello Young Lovers”. I’ve attended hundreds of Cabaret shows but never have I seen or heard an audience like this one. They hooted, whistled, cheered and jumped out of their chairs. Where did they get this audience? Central Casting? Whatever they were on – I want some.

Before giving us “I’m Beginning to See the Light” – Budd shines some insight on what inspired her to pursue a show business career. She said: “One night my parents brought me to the Copa Cabana in New York. Peggy Lee was performing that night. I begged my parents to let me try to get her autograph. She was off to the side of the stage in what could be called a holding area. I boldly walked up to Peggy Lee and asked for her Autograph. To my surprise – she said “All right”. After signing she said: “Now get out of my way kid.” “It was then that I thought – this is what I want to do. I want to be in Show business. My parents were not thrilled. I was supposed to fix my nose and marry a Doctor.”

The only thing in the world that is sung more than “Bring In The Clowns” is anything by Cole Porter. People have heard “Clowns” so many time that they actually flee the room the minute they hear the first chord. However, in Budd’s medley of Cole Porter she gives new life to “Anything goes”, “You’re the Top” and “I Get a Kick Out of You”. It was de-lovely. Well, not quite. There was a couple in the front row that had this annoying habit of snapping their fingers together to almost everything. At first glance I thought it was a Lesbian with her in-the-closet husband. Then at a closer look, I realized that it was two guys. They should pick up the song “Whatever Happened To Class?”

After the Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart segment of the show, which included “The Lady is a Tramp” and “My Funny Valentine”. The audience jumped up like robots and gave a standing ovation. By now their hands probably were forming calluses. Somehow along the line Restaurants in SF came up. And another annoying audience member shouted have some crab cakes. Budd looked out into the darkness and said, “Did you say Crab Cakes? I’m a Hebrew.”

In the audience were Rita Moreno, Lucy Arnez and Frank De Ambrosia. Budd finished off the evening with a gorgeous “With One Look” from Sunset Boulevard – written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black & Christopher Hampton. It was stunning – now the audience went ballistic. I can see Budd in a revival of “Sunset”. She would be one of the greatest Norma Desmonds yet. You see – she can sing. Glenn Close can’t. And you know what – I have an inkling that it just might open at the Orpheum Theater next season. Julie Budd at the Empire Plush thru Aug. 15. RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! THE LEE HARTGRAVE FAME AWARD GOES TO JULIE BUDD FOR THE BEST CABARET COLUMN THIS YEAR. GIVE ME LIBERTY OR PEPPERONI OR GOSSIP!

“Buzzin” Lee Hartgrave – Beyond Chron


Applause! Applause! Review of Julie Budd’s CD “Pure Imagination”

This review of Julie Budd’s CD entitled “Pure Imagination” was written by Marle Becker

“Pure Imagination” – Julie Budd
(Touchwood/After 9 Records, TWCD-2014)

It’s been far too long between albums for veteran show-stopper Julie Budd, but her CD on Touchwood brings Budd right back into the recording limelight where she belongs. While Budd’s always found an effective way to flatter a good song, or any song for that matter, she appears to be singing a different tune these days. Much more passionate about her material and noticeably more connected to the heart of a song than she’s ever been before, her message is now accurately focused and clearly heartfelt. Hence, a medley of “I’ve Got A Crush On You” and “My Romance” is not only thrilling vocally and technically, but emotionally as well, yet at the same time, “Blame It On My Youth” conveys an unlucky feeling of love gone awry. There’s a swinging duet with Billy Stritch and “Where Am I Going” from “Sweet Charity” serves as a wake-up call to Broadway big shots to straighten up and take heed. Arrangements by Don Sebesky, Pete Moore, and Herb Bernstein are stimulating and right on target for Budd’s crystal clear voice.

Julie Budd’s “Pure Imagination” is pure pleasure. Pick this one up, take it home, and see why this Budd’s for you!

Marle Becker – International Business Times UK