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Phillip Officer is as polished a cabaret performer as we have, which is news to nobody conversant in these matters. When he chooses a composer and/or lyricist to honor, it goes without saying that he'll select material he can refresh without resorting to anything like cheap tricks.

For Officer's current month of Mondays at the King Kong Room, the melody-maker of choice is Burton Lane, who started young and was soon writing unforgettable ditties with wordsmiths Ralph Freed, E. Y. Harburg, Frank Loesser, and Alan Jay Lerner. Everything of theirs that Officer interprets in that solid baritone hits the air firmly and then melts on it.

The Monday I attended—with few others—Officer seemed thrown by the customer paucity and the far-flung corners where those present chose to sit. At odds with his normal gentlemanly way, Officer ad-libbed one crack about the situation that had more acid in it than he may have planned. Luckily, he made it to me, and I can take it. Another customer might not. Something to be watched, I bet he's already thought to himself.

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