At the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Isaac Mizrahi’s Cabaret Show spotlights the diverse talents of one of America’s foremost fashion designers.
By John Lavitt
Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) March 7, 2023 – There is an argument to be made that the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts was the perfect venue for An Evening with Isaac Mizrahi. An irreverent one-of-a-kind cabaret show, Isaac Mizrahi’s performance allowed him to shine in front of many of his traditional clientele. After all, style loves style, and Beverly Hills is the heart and soul of expensive tastes.
As the subject and co-creator of Unzipped (1995), Isaac Mizrahi allowed his followers to go behind the scenes of the creation of his 1994 fall collection in the documentary. Ever since, he has been so much more than a fashion designer. He hosted his own television show for seven years and wrote two books. Always on the cutting edge of popular culture, he currently serves as a judge on “Project Runway: All-Stars.” Such a position makes perfect sense since Isaac Mizrahi is the definition of an all-star.
From the moment he took the stage with an incredibly talented six-piece jazz band backing him up, Mizrahi was in charge like the most fabulous den mother in the world. Singing songs that ranged from “Everybody’s Talkin’ (Echoes)” from Midnight Cowboy to Madonna’s smash hit “Borderline,” he used the songs to play with the audience. Isaac Mizrahi made every moment sparkle by playing with the meaning of the words and dramatically holding his own on stage.
In between songs, Mizrahi told jokes and stories. He mentioned how his husband Arnold, “who is gay, by the way, in case you didn’t know,” allowed him to have Jon Hamm as his Hall Pass. Although he flirted with the Madmen actor, he could never cash in that particular chip. Still, it led to a song that was quite entertaining. Indeed, Mizrahi’s success is his willingness to laugh at himself by bringing the audience in on each and every joke.
Another successful quality of the designer is his generosity of spirit. Knowing that he had a fantastic band supporting him, he gave multiple solos to each band member. Ben Waltzer on piano and Neal Miner on bass balanced the evening by providing a foundation of sound to build the rest of the night’s music. On percussion and drums, respectively, Daniel Freedman and Joe Strasser kept the evening moving forward with an infectious and consistent rhythm. Finally, on trumpets, the dueling solos of Bruce Harris and Benny Benack were nothing less than magnificent.
Indeed, it was clear how much the band loved their leader. And the audience loved him as well. Regardless of what’s happening, Isaac Mizrahi creates and performs with unbridled joy on stage. At the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, the feeling was shared with all in attendance, along with many hilarious jokes. Best of the night: “Children are the dogs of straight people.” Once again, indeed!
Photos by Rob Latour