Heather Mac Rae, stage, film and TV actress shines on her second solo CD. Featuring (some never-before recorded) songs by such great composers as Amanda McBroom, David Friedman, Michele Brourman, Stephen Schwartz, Julie Gold, Paul Jabara, Bruce Roberts and Lonette McKee.
— Reviewed On Sunday, May 30, 1999 — David Roberts
“Heather MacRae at Eighty-Eight’s
“Songs For My Father”
“Oklahoma, every night my honey-lamb and I, sit alone and talk, and watch a hawk, making lazy circles in the sky.”
“There’s really no use wondering if he’s good or if he’s bad: something made him the way that he is.”
Heather MacRae’s touching tribute to her father, Gordon, “Songs For My Father”, is the perfect choice for Eighty-Eight’s farewell performance. If someone decides to continue the marvelous tradition of live performance at this landmark cabaret spot, all well and good. But is Ms. MacRae’s performance proves to be the ultimate gig in the “upstairs room” there could be no better tribute to the importance of live theatre and the impact it has on the human spirit.
“Songs For My Father” is not only a fitting and tasteful homage to Gordon MacRae, but a sung reflection of the life of a family and a young girl’s part in that family and how that early life has continued to impact Heather MacRae in dynamic and challenging ways throughout her adult life. This beautiful show is also a rare gift to every member of the audience including, on this occasion, Heather’s mother Sheila and one of Heather’s brothers, and an assortment of Heather MacRae’s colleagues (including David Campbell).
If a word can summarize this final performance at Eighty-Eight’s, it is “honesty”. Heather MacRae is one of the most honest performers on stage today. Her offering to her father is an ingenious appraisal of who he was as a person and a parent as well as who he was in the eyes of his fans and professional acquaintances. The actor we remember as Billy Bigelow and Curly, sidekick to Doris Day, Shirley Jones, and Jane Powell, was also the troubled husband and father who fought his way to sobriety before his death in 1986. And Heather is the daughter who can celebrate with her audience the newfound respect she had for Gordon MacRae as a father and performer.
Throughout the sharing of many stories from her childhood and adult life (including memories of trick-or-treating at the home of Gene Autry and playing on a studio back lot in the surrey with the fringe on top), Heather MacRae sings these songs with respect and without any hint of self-serving interest. Her voice is as strong and controlled as it ever was. Her musicianship is unparalleled and her attention to detail and nuance is at once haunting and formidable. When she sings “Don’t you wish it’d go on forever and never stop”. Heather MacRae reflects for all of us not only our bent for nostalgia, but our wish to be understood, to matter, to count, to make a real difference in a world which seems to long to eradicate our distinctive and inestimable personalities.
If one needs to see signs of victory, one needs only to look no further than around the room at Eighty- Eight’s on this final night of its impressive and legendary history. Patrons singing along with Heather MacRae to the lyrics and music of “Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin” and “Oklahoma!” fingers and toes tapping, eyes filled with tears of appreciative joy, and not missing one word, one beat, one nuance of those songs which perhaps sum up musical theatre for the generation of fans of Gordon MacRae. Heather, thank you for letting us know that you, and we, are for a while longer (like Oklahoma) OK.”
Heather Mac Rae is a singer, actress, and a nightclub performer. One of her first theatrical experiences was appearing with the entire Mac Rae Family (parents Gordon and Sheila, sister Meredith, and brothers Gar and Bruce) in the Starlight Theatre's…