Reviews

…for I’ve Been Played: Alysha Umphress Swings Jeff Blumenkrantz 

Yellow Sound Label

 

…the chemistry between Umphress’s phenomenal voice and Blumenkrantz’s savvy music is truly remarkable. Blumenkrantz’s songs are carefully crafted gems, complete with tuneful melodies coupled with sensitive and honest lyrics… all sparkling winners that sound like classics in the American Songbook canon.

David Hurst
NY Arts Review
Jaunary 6, 2105

 

Whether you’ve heard them before or not, each of Jeff Blumenkrantz‘s original compositions and his arrangements of classics will have you dancing around your living room, snapping your fingers on your daily commutes, and grinning from ear to ear. His up-tempo and upbeat music radiates happiness and joy, filling the soul and heart with mirthful warmth.

David Clarke
Broadway World
January 6, 2015

…it’s swell how Alysha Umphress joins her jazzy and juicy vocal pizzazz to songwriter/arranger Jeff Blumenkrantz‘s inventive and eclectic work. Indeed, the album serves as a showcase for both artists’ versatility, and they make a cozy team. “Disarming” is the word that leaps to mind, as the lighthearted numbers are unpretentiously joyful and the serious tracks are treated with a believable directness.

 

Most of the material was written by Renaissance man Blumenkrantz… the originals are instantly accessible and stand on their own well…

 

While the songwriting and arranging skills are boldly and impressively on display, it is the gorgeously simple and endearing set of questions addressed to the “Man in the Moon” that is most affecting for me. Gentle and pensive, it also is special in that it evidences a speaker concerned not just with personal issues but the larger specter of loneliness and pain of the many others under the moon. And yet it does this without being a weeper or preachy, and its references to the moon as being made of cheese (“Your cheddar face”) add a quirky warmth.”

Rob Lester
Talkin’ Broadway: Sound Advice
April 6, 2015

 

…for The New York Cabaret Convention 

Rose Theater, Lincoln Center
October 7, 2013

 

One of the most promising was Rebekah Lowin, a Columbia undergraduate, whose renditions of “My Heart Was Set on You,” a contemporary standard-in-waiting by Jeff Blumenkrantz, and Billy Joel’s “Lullabye,” delivered in a sweet, light voice, were impressive for their freshness and lack of self-dramatization.

Stephen Holden
New York Times
October 8, 2013


…for Sutton Foster in Concert

The Grand 1984 Opera House, Galveston, TX
October 27, 2012

 

Foster scored big with two one-of-a-kind numbers by a pair of fine contemporary songwriters…. With Jeff Blumenkrantz‘s exquisitely crafted “My Heart Was Set on You,” she sustained the story-song’s extensive emotional arc as if performing a one-act play.

Everett Evans
Houston Chronicle
October 29, 2012


…for Laura Benanti: American Songbook Series

The Allen Room, Lincoln Center
February 11, 2012

 

She maintained a confident balance between art song and pop while singing Jeff Blumenkrantz’s setting of the Edna St. Vincent Millay sonnet “Love Is Not All.” Although she emphasized the strength of the music rather than the words — more interpretive liberties would have been welcome — the sound of her voice was glorious.

Stephen Holden
New York Times
February 14, 2012

…for Victoria Clark: The Vicki and Ted Show

Feinstein’s at the Regency

 

Clark has a rare gift among singers of fully inhabiting characters in song, and that talent is wisely brought to the fore in the song choices: … the lovestruck tollbooth clerk in Jeff Blumenkrantz‘s bittersweet story song “Toll”…
Brian Scott Lipton
TheaterMania.com
October 21, 2009


…for Sutton Foster: American Songbook Series

The Allen Room, Lincoln Center
February 19, 2009

 

Current-day songwriters — who…were introduced from the stage — included… Jeff Blumenkrantz, with the tenderly effective “My Heart Was Set on You”…
Steven Suskin
Variety
February 22, 2009


…for Victoria Clark: How Can I Keep from Singing?

Kennedy Center

 

Highlights of the evening included an ever-modulating version of “What More Do I Need?” arranged by Jeff Blumenkrantz as well as his song “Toll,” a tale of unrequited love on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Michael Miyazaki
cabaretscenes.org
December 6, 2008

…for Rebecca Luker: Songs for the Theater: The Next Generation

Kennedy Center

 

Luker scored especially strongly on material that allowed her to tell a fairly direct story – especially Blumenkrantz and Beth Blatt’s “Lovely Lies,” a poignant mother/daughter exchange…

Michael Miyazaki
cabaretscenes.org
November 8. 2008

…for Rebecca Luker: Feinstein’s at the Regency

 

A Southern woman married to a Jewish man (actor Danny Burstein), Luker firmly established her Alabama roots with “Lovely Lies” by Jeff Blumenkrantz and Beth Blatt. This story song about a young woman from the South having a difficult heart-to-heart talk with her mom was one of the highlights of the evening, not only because the piece is so insightful but also because Luker acted it so exquisitely.
The Siegel Column
December 20, 2005
…this Alabama-born Scarlett O’Hara knows the value of trusting a lyric and letting the songs work for her, and she’s an accomplished actress too. Which explains the depth she pours into a profound new tune entitled “Lovely Lies,” about Southern belles raised on church hymns and pecan pie, with no preparation for independent thinking or real life on the other side of the plantation.
Rex Reed
The New York Observer
May 29, 2006

 

…for Victoria Clark: American Songbook Series

The Allen Room, Lincoln Center
Feb. 10, 2006

 

…the high points were sky-high:
… a setting of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Love Is Not All” by the profoundly talented Jeff Blumenkrantz. With this song, Clark and Blumenkrantz created a perfect, still moment, providing the moral center that all first-class recitals need.
Brian Kellow
Opera News
June 2006


…for The Audience

Transport Group at the Connelly Theater, NYC
Among the better-known names [in the cast] are Dee Hoty, …Donna Lynne Champlin, … and, most rewardingly, Rita Gardner, who created the role of the girl in ‘The Fantasticks’ way back when, as a new widow who brings the ashes of her late husband to the show.
Her solo song, “I Think,” by Jeff Blumenkrantz, is cute, dusted with sugar… Ms. Gardner performs it with the tender devotion of a veteran who still takes infinite pleasure in her craft. It’s a transporting moment, the kind that keeps musical-theater audiences returning to those uncomfortable seats, in the hope of discovering that the old-school magic isn’t gone for good.

Charles Isherwood
New York Times
April 12, 2005

 

Jeff Blumenkrantz‘s “I Think” provides the evening’s sole moment of true heart as achingly sung by Rita Gardner as a Westchester widow.
Matthew Murray
TalkinBroadway.com
April 10, 2005

 

In a standout score that lacks only a soaring love ballad (what about adding one for the Champlin-Weber couple?), several songs are particular stand-outs. Rita Gardner’s aria “I Think,” by Jeff Blumenkrantz, is a honey…
David Finkle
Theatremania.com
April 11, 2005

…for Rebecca Luker: American Songbook Series

The Allen Room, Lincoln Center
Feb. 12, 2005

 

…here is a short list of my spur-of-the-moment favorites:
Jeff Blumenkranz‘s (sic) “Moving Right Along,” the show’s peppiest number, in which Ms. Luker and her singing guest, Sally Wilfert, scrutinized and dismissed the men in a singles bar with witty one-liners; “Love Is Not All,” Mr. Blumenkranz‘s (sic) sad, stately setting of a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, a favorite poet of New Art Song composers…
Stephen Holden
New York Times
February 15, 2005
The evening’s one genuine showstopper was a duet performed by Luker and guest star Sally Wilfert, in which they played two discerning young women checking out the possibilities at a singles bar; the number is a witty list song by Jeff Blumenkrantz, titled “Moving Right Along.”
The Siegel Column
Theatermania.com
Feb 15, 2005


…for The Living End

Lyric Stage, Irving, Texas
‘Pocketbook’ and ‘Jewel’ are the creations of composer Jeff Blumenkrantz and book writer/lyricist Libby Saines (Annie Kessler co-authored the former). Blumenkrantz demonstrates his stylistic diversity, Broadway-playful on Pocketbook, more intricately layered in Jewel.
Mark Lowry
Star-Telegram, Dallas/Fort Worth
Feb 17, 2005


…for Audra McDonald: The Seven Deadly Sins

Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall

 

In the dazzling ”My Book,” a take on Sloth by the composer and lyricist Jeff Blumenkrantz, Ms. McDonald became a haggard writer desperate to enlist help from the audience — someone to cart away her television, confiscate her cellphones, wake her up at dawn — so that she can complete an overdue manuscript: ”I may hate you,” she sang, ”but I’ll thank you in my book.”
Anthony Tommasini
New York Times
June 4, 2004
In a hedonistic city in a voluptuary country at a self-indulgent time, the notion of sin seems alien and quaint. It’s not that New Yorkers have lost the ability to recoil at cruelty, violence and bigotry. But the composer and lyricist Jeff Blumenkrantz surely spoke for millions when he told an interviewer: “Envy? Sloth? Please! I consider myself to be a morally upstanding guy, and I’ve got the Seven Deadlies going practically 24/7.”
But as Blumenkrantz and the half-dozen other composers who responded to Audra McDonald’s call for a collection of admonitory songs well know, when it comes to entertainment, the concept still has bite. Sin makes great material, and McDonald sells it with lusty charm.
…For Sloth, Blumenkrantz came up with “My Book,” a frenzied protest against procrastination in which the sheer manic energy devoted to not writing has a hilarious poignancy.
Justin Davidson
LI Newsday
June 4, 2004

…for Urban Cowboy

Broadhurst Theater

 

The score is a grab bag of melodies, both old and new. Much of the new material is by Brown, but there also are contributions by Bob Stillman and by Jeff Blumenkrantz, who has written a sassy comic number for the valuable Sally Mayes as Bud’s commonsense Aunt Corene.
The Associated Press
March 28, 2003

 

Few musicals need (or thrive on) complex plots; gaps in librettos exist to be filled by music. But the songs in Urban Cowboy are a hodgepodge of offerings, some from the film, some written specifically for the show, and some assembled from still other songwriters, with almost all used haphazardly and devoid of dramatic value. Note to Broadway musical creators: Songs written for specific characters in specific situations are still the best way to avoid this problem.
Only Jeff Blumenkrantz, one of the new composers, really understands this, his melodic “All Because of You” and “Another Guy” providing vital early glimpses into characters’ inner workings.
Matthew Murray
Talkinbroadway.com
March 27, 2003
Supporting performances are in more experienced hands, with the fabulous Sally Mayes turning in a fine piece as Cavanaugh’s aunt who has the first real highlight of the show with Jeff Blumenkrantz’ comic “All Because of You” that solidly establishes her character.
Brad Hathaway
Musical Stages Online
April, 2003

 

…for “I Won’t Mind” from Audra McDonald’s CD, How Glory Goes

Nonesuch Records

 

The album’s most moving song was “I Won’t Mind,” which treated the unusual subject of the love felt for a child by a family friend. It was such songs, on this and McDonald’s previous release, that made listeners want to hear the whole scores of the works from which they were excerpted, or even see productions of them — and, of course, that was the idea.
All Music Guide
William Ruhlmann
As on her excellent first album, McDonald boldly introduces a collection of little-known theater songs by contemporary composers. This time she also sanctifies such classic numbers as ”Bill” and ”The Man That Got Away” with her luminous soprano. Still, the very best number on this wonderful disc may be a breathtaking modern lullaby, never before recorded, called “I Won’t Mind.” A
Daniel Okrent
Entertainment Weekly
March 10, 2000
McDonald still champions new generation composers. Among the newer songs, Adam Guettel’s “How Glory Goes” (from the acclaimed musical “Floyd Collins”), and Jeff Blumenkrantz‘s “I Won’t Mind” are beautiful and affecting songs made even more rewarding by McDonald’s heartfelt performances.
Steve Futterman
Barnes & Noble
This song by the talented Jeff Blumenkrantz makes me cry every time.
Cynthia Nixon
Celebrity Music Playlist
May 18, 2011
…some of the new material on ‘Glory’ is almost as captivatingly melodic as the standards. As alluded to earlier, by so thoroughly investing herself in “I Won’t Mind,” an intriguing ode sung by a doting aunt to a young baby, McDonald makes us hungry to hear the entire work it came from, the little-known The Other Franklin.
Will Friedwald
A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers