Following a 15 year absence from the New York stage, Pia Zadora presented an incredibly slick comeback show. “Pia Zadora–Back Again and Standing Tall” was well-rehearsed and more Las Vegas than the laid back Metropolitan Room in style. Dressed in a long, low cut Bob Mackie bronze sequin dress with a high side slit, she exuded sex and wowed the men in the room.
Zadora, who admits to 58, introduced her current husband, Las Vegas police detective Michael Jefferies, quipping “he’s my own age, that’s the best part.” She made references to her ex’s (Meshulam Riklis was 31 years her senior). This was an introduction to “Maybe this Time.” She attempted to diffuse her controversial tabloid life with jokes, most of which seemed too scripted rather than spontaneous. “Here’s a song I’m an expert on” introduced the energetic “Get Me To The Church On Time.” “Things are going so great, I no longer call him my current husband,” and she dedicated “For Once in My Life” to Michael whom she met after reporting a stalker. Two weeks later, they were engaged — hubby number four.
The native New Yorker is a better singer than actor. Her selection of songs includes some of the best known from the American songbook: “All of Me” and “Pick Yourself Up.” She reflected on a high point in her life when she opened for Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas and then toured with him and comedian Don Rickles. She did well with a Sinatra medley. Throughout her performance, she invoked Frank’s name frequently and repeated his directive to her, “Don’t screw up.”
Vinnie Falcone, who was Sinatra’s conductor and pianist, did moving jazz arrangements and was featured on piano in one of her best numbers “Come Rain or Come Shine.” Ned Ginsberg on keyboard, Joe Lano on guitar (also worked with Sinatra), Ronnie Zito on drums and Jay Leonhard on bass produced awesome sound in this small venue.
Zadora knows how to present a song with seductive moves as in “C’est Si Bon.” She connected well with the audience during the Duke Ellington number, “I’m Beginning To See The Light” and “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You.” Her love for New York – she first appeared on Broadway at age seven – was evident in “City Lights.”
Zadora’s closing number, “I Am What I Am,” was strong and re-enforced for all of us that she’s her own unique creation. She’s re-invented herself in a way that shows off her best vocal talent and stage presence. The show was created by Emmy award winning director and choreographer Walter Painter, writer Jon Macks and Tony winner Larry Grossman. Her final show in this run is at the Metropolitan Room today but plans for a return visit are underway.
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