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choose that material very carefully. Her patter

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choose that material very carefully. Her patter set up her songs with economy and precision: giving us the information, for instance, that Frank Sinatra (with two other writers) penned "I'm a Fool to Want You" for Ava Gardner served as a lead-in to the song. Taken together, this bright-voiced singer put together a well-crafted and engaging show. We'd like to see her again.

Finally, Michael Ferreri is a good-looking and personable performer who also exhibits exceptionally good musical taste. His show at the FireBird Café is loaded with familiar songs that are among the most beloved in cabaret. Except that's a problem. The audience has already heard great versions of these songs, like Tom Andersen's "Storybook," Karen Mason's "Downtown," and Nancy LaMott's and Charles Cermele's "Listen to My Heart." And let's not even get into all the people who have sung Sondheim's "Move On" and "Marry Me a Little." In his current show, "Sailing," Michael Ferreri isn't sailing at all. But his problems are largely fixable. He's not going with his strength, which is his personality. One of his best songs is a piece of special material about working in a piano bar (as he does) called "Music Machine." A real and engaging entertainer comes through in that number, which also happens whenever he delivers his charming, funny patter. He should talk more and sing songs that he can make his own. See for yourself at the FireBird every Thursday in December at 9 pm.

AROUND TOWN: Celebrate Christmas with the Don't Tell Mama Family Players. Hosted by Colette Hawley, they're performing their Christmas show at (you guessed it) Don't Tell Mama on Fri., Dec. 21 at 10:30 pm.

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