by: Fern Siegel
Traveler’s USA Notebook

Photo by David Andrako

It’s fitting that the divine Ute Lemper’s latest cabaret show is Rendezvous With Marlene, as she shares several key traits with Hollywood legend Marlene Dietrich. Both are captivating performers who harbored conflicted feelings about Germany, their birthplace.

And both are strong, sultry, alluring women with singular careers.

Thus, in the elegant Café Carlyle through March 3, Lemper, acclaimed internationally as an actress and singer, pays an emotional musical tribute to Dietrich, one of the stars of the Weimar. (Lemper made a name for herself singing the Weimar repertoire.)

What makes the show so touching is its poignant undertow. Dietrich was a savvy artist. She understood how to craft a glamorous, exotic public persona, noting that a carefully constructed illusion could sustain a lucrative private reality.

Rendezvous With Marlene is inspired by a phone call between the two in 1988. Dietrich was living as a recluse in Paris; Lemper had just received the Molière Award for Cabaret. Dietrich became a star in 1928, thanks to The Blue Angel. Six days before Lemper played the same role 64 years later in Berlin, Dietrich died.

Lemper treasured their time together and her respect for Dietrich is evident in Rendezvous. The journey is biographical. She neatly charts Dietrich’s rise from cabaret singer to Hollywood star to her successful stage shows with music director Burt Bacharach with customary Lemper flair.

Ever the anti-Nazi, Dietrich secured American citizenship and entertained American soldiers in WW II. The Germans never forgave her, still calling her a traitor at her Berlin burial in 1992. Lemper sadly relates her homeland’s cruelty, while relaying Dietrich’s joys and sorrows in song, including Hollaender’s “The Ruins of Berlin.” Mercer’s “When The World Was Young” or Seeger’s “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”

Capturing the essence of Dietrich’s voice, whether she’s discussing dinners with Billy Wilder, bisexuality or her movies, Lemper maintains her allure — and her mysterious aloofness. While there are moments that could be trimmed, overall, the experience is intimate and moving, the chance to watch a dazzling star channel another.

By: David Noh
Gay City News, 1 March, 2018

The minute I heard Ute Lemper’s new show at the Café Carlyle was about Marlene Dietrich, I knew I had to talk to her. For me, that German superstar could very well be the most important woman of the last century. Her life spanned nearly all of it and took her in so many directions, to so many worlds: two World Wars, the latter of which saw her playing an important role, as an entertainer who performed near the front lines, imperiling herself, having refused offers to return to Germany to become a Nazi movie star. Her films spanned the silent and sound eras, and she worked with the finest movie talents of her day…

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By: Regina Weinreich
Gossip Central, March 01, 2018

Photo: David Andrako

“Music, champagne, dancing—wonderful things that make you forget, until you find something to remember,” Ute Lemper laughs dramatically perched on a barstool close to the Café Carlyle’s grand piano, skin showing through her skirt’s slit. She chides the audience, “Stop looking at my legs. They are not that good. I just know what to do with them.” This was opening night of Ute Lemper’s show at the Café Carlyle, “Rendezvous with Marlene,” this week, and many of her fans attended to hear the leggy redhead recount the history that forms this tribute performance to the legendary Marlene…

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By Paul Hansen
Charged FM, 1 March, 2018

The singer returns to the Carlyle with a tribute to Marlene Dietrich.

Although it is a word that is often overused, I think that it is safe to say that Marlene Dietrich was an iconic figure of the twentieth century. It is not for nothing that she is mentioned in Madonna’s iconic (there is that word again) song “Vogue.” Born in Berlin in 1901 and passing away in 1992 at the age of 90, Dietrich’s very presence radiated urbanity and sophistication.

The acclaimed singer and actress Ute Lemper opened a new engagement at the Café Carlyle this past Tuesday in a tribute to Dietrich entitled Rendezvous with Marlene. Lemper had some contact with Dietrich in the late 1980’s which included correspondence and a three hour telephone conversation. (Like Greta Garbo, Dietrich was reclusive in the last years of her life, largely interacting with the world through letters and lengthy phone conversations). It was entirely appropriate that Lemper would devote a whole evening to Dietrich at the Carlyle as Dietrich rose to fame in the celebrated 1930 German film Blue Angel in which she played a cabaret singer…

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