What is Bebe's charisma? It's not her body, although she's got all the parts in all the right places and they're all in fine working order. It's not her face, although her eyes are enchanting and her lips are inviting. It's not her voice, although her tone is warm and low and full like Cognac. It's Bebe's attitude toward sex. She's all for it. Like Brigitte Bardot in And God Created Woman, all Bebe's characters like sex. Charity the prostitute may have a heart of gold, but she still likes her work. Velma may want the fame that sex and violence bring, but she also likes the sex. Diane in Tadpole may be flirting with statutory rape, but she's enjoying herself thoroughly.
In her appearance at Hill Auditorium on Tuesday, July 5, Bebe's charisma will test the newly installed air-conditioning system. She'll be performing tunes from Chicago, along with songs by the Godfather of Decadence, Kurt Weill. As every woman singer since Lotte Lenya knows, when it comes to setting hot, wet, nasty sex to music, the cantor's son from Berlin knew all the ins and outs. From the sweaty songs of The Threepenny Opera through the steaming songs of Happy End to the sweltering songs of One Touch of Venus, Weill had his finger on the pulse of sex. The mere thought of Bebe singing "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" in a little black dress is enough to blow a fuse.
[Originally published in July, 2005.]