By Michael Reubens
Mention the name Ute Lemper to some people and you may get a shrug of shoulders but to the discerning followers of worldwide talent the same reaction will definitely not occur.
After one sees her one-woman show coming soon to a theatre near you, I, for one am happy to set the record straight that henceforth Ms. Lemper will be on everyone’s radar. Her Bio includes award-winning roles in Chicago, Cats and Cabaret and her love of the more intimate global cabaret circuit in which she is truly more comfortable.
Rendezvous with Marlene, written and performed by Ms. Lemper and described as “a personal homage to Marlene Dietrich” on a recent telephone conversation in which all was revealed about the legendary actress including some fascinating secrets and anecdotes.
Ute Lemper initially got the revelatory idea to document and therefore stage this show when both U.L. and M. D. lived in Paris . The year was 1988 and U.L. spent three hours on the phone with M D., exploring her career and revealing some of her most intimate secrets. What U.L. got from that call was amazing comparisons between both women: M.D. was 87 at the time and U.L. a mere 24 which left a profound and everlasting emotional impact to this day. Channeling M.D. but certainly not imitating her.
U.L. is also quick to point out that the show chronicles the glamorous star without doing a complete impression. More a retrospect as seen through the eyes and vision of U.L. focusing on highlights from her cabaret days, Hollywood movies, her relationships with composer and mentor Burt Bacharach, chanteuse Edith Piaf, Bio Doc with Actor/Director Maximilian Schell and so on.
M.D. loved her native Germany however she was saddened by the fact that she felt punished to the end of her life mostly due to negative rumours that she was a traitor. She had a love affair with France, the UK and USA and love affairs with both men and women. Ahead of her time she wore men’s apparel, had an open marriage, was abandoned by her daughter who wrote a damming biography filled with negativity yet adored by her fans through films and stage appearances worldwide.
Ute Lemper comes to New York for 5 performances from 18 September only following a sold out run in London . She will then reprise her show throughout Europe and hopes to mount the production with a fresher perspective sometime in the near future.
* The York Theatre Company, New York.
* Additional information can be found by visiting