In her Hollywood dreams Andrea Marcovicci is a sweet, old-fashioned princess. Her ultimate romantic fantasy, she confessed on Thursday evening at the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, is to be swept off her feet and onto a dance floor by Fred Astaire. It is not, she emphasized, to be pressed up against a wall by a heavy-breathing date. When one young woman in the audience disagreed, Ms. Marcovicci wrinkled her nose in disapproval. No zipless encounters for this nostalgia-besotted cabaret singer who announced that she will turn 60 on Tuesday, then added, with a note of pride, that she can still move her face.
Ms. Marcoviccis new show, Marcovicci Sings Movies II, at the Oak Room, is an extensively altered and improved revival of one she performed there 21 years ago. In those days Ms. Marcovicci exuded the charm of an eager lady-in-waiting to the old-time movie star royalty she worshiped. But she has long since become the cabaret embodiment of that royalty. Glamour personified, she is a bejeweled queenly presence who suggests a composite of Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn.
The show is a beautifully written, erudite, expertly performed seminar on classic Hollywood movie songs and the legends who sang them. Its only flaw a tragic one, if you will is the problematic singing voice that brings these songs to life. If Ms. Marcovicci had actually appeared in the movies she conjures in such exquisite detail, her singing would surely have been dubbed by another. It is a measure of her charisma and acting skill that much of the time she makes you disregard her vocal weaknesses.
Astaire is remembered with I Wont Dance and Cheek to Cheek; Bing Crosby with Swinging on a Star; Henry Mancini (and his connection to Hepburn) with Moon River, Charade and Two for the Road; and Judy Garland with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. A section devoted to movie sidekicks culminates with Frank Loessers hilarious slang version of Hamlet, originally sung by Betty Hutton (the wackiest of the wacky, Ms. Marcovicci observed) in the movie Red, Hot and Blue.
Marcovicci Sings Movies II
continues through Dec. 27
The Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel
59 West 44th Street, Manhattan; (212) 419-9331,