"A performer of unusual depth and insight . . . Jill Corey has made one of the most spectacular comebacks in cabaret . . . Corey's return is more than welcome, it's downright exciting."
Holden in the New York Times
* * * * *
"A well-designed act based on the music of Harold Arlen . . . Corey gives this composer a dramatic and intense delivery in which she hits all the emotional stops."
* * * * *
"This show represents a triumph for both Corey and Lassen and a smashing return for Corey."
Bob Harrington in the New York Post
"Strong set of pipes . . . powerful voice soared over the stage . . . evening
of fine singing, great material by a gem of a singer who happily has returned
to performing after a much too long absence."
Sanders in Hollywood Reporter
"Jill Corey is a singer who stretches songs to their emotional breaking point . . . her voice has darkened and ripened . . . like Garland, Miss Corey is unstintingly dramatic . . . conveys a fundamental earthiness that gives all the emotional energy a solid base. The mixture of torchiness with a rootedness that has an almost gospel-like quality make her an ideal interpreter of a composer whose songs contain such strong currents of the blues."
Holden in the New York Times
"Singer Jill Corey's voice and looks conjure up a range of famous images: Judy Garland . . . Barbra Streisand . . . Ethel Merman . . . Edith Piaf. When she sang I Wonder What Became of Me interpolated into the center of One for My Baby, the picture of a woman who has lost the girl she used to be sprang brilliantly into focus. Wow! And It's a New World ached with the hope that the new world would stick around. Here is a fine singer, indeed."
Nelsen in the New York Daily News
"Corey's forte is the torch song, and she's a singer who pulls out all the stops and then some. But though there's always enough torch in a Corey show to start a conflagration, A Celebration of Song is a well-balanced show that covers a wide spectrum of emotions. I was deeply impressed with many of the sweet moments in this show as she sang about the joys of raising a daughter, and was swept away by her eleventh-hour number After Today, and by a medley of Janis Ian's Stars with Sondheim's I'm Still Here.
"Corey sings straight from her heart and . . . from her life experience. It gives her renditions a verity that no amount of skill can duplicate - either you've been through it or you haven't. Corey's skill and her artistry is in her ability to share and express those feelings through song. She sings about things which have affected her deeply. When you join her in her Celebration of Song, it is her life you are celebrating - the good times and the bad - and when you leave, you'll know something about Jill Corey."
Harrington, from Bistro Bits in Back Stage
"For me, the salvation of a visit to Dangerfield's, the popular East Side club last week was a singer who preceded the star. She was our own Jill Corey, returning to New York in a big way, more ready for stardom now than at any time in her career.
"The Avonmore-born singer is living in New Jersey now, and she has evolved from girl-next-door sweetness to sadder-but-wiser maturity.
"The result is nothing less than terrific. She is singing better now than ever, and she is capable of casting a spell that makes you forget the clatter of waiters and the chatter of drunks.
"When she pours her heart into a superb Dory Previn ballad about the painful need for love and winds up with tears streaming down her cheeks, the result is devastating in a way that recalls Judy Garland and Edith Piaf and the other singers who wore their hearts where they bruised most easily."
Anderson in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A NEW JILL COREY . . .
"Her hometown fans - and relatives in plentiful number - are getting a chance this week to hear how impressive Jill Corey sounds today, which means that a lot of customers at the new Top Shelf Uptown are experiencing a musical revelation.
"When I first encountered Jill's mature style at Rodney Dangerfield's in New York a year ago, her new act was only a few weeks old. I reported on it in glowing terms at that time, so I am enormously pleased that Pittsburgh has a chance to hear her - especially in such congenial, intimate, harmonious surroundings.
"The pixie quality is gone, supplanted by an appealing and attractive womanliness.
There was always a trace of Garland in that ripe, beseeching voice,
but the way she uses it is all her own.
"She shows a healthy respect for a good lyric, as when she does a pair of Rogers and Hart gems like Bewitched and It Never Entered My Mind. Best of all, for me, is her haunting and deeply moving singing of Dory Previn's Lady with the Braids, a superb song about a woman seeking a man's company with powerfully understated lyrics like 'Would you care to stay a while and save my life?'
"With the Bobby Negri trio backing her, Jill does about forty minutes, although she plans to add a few new songs during her run. That engagement has already been extended through next week."
Anderson in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
HEAR, HEAR, IT'S JILL COREY HERE . . .
"People who think they recall Jill Corey should check their nostalgia at the Riverboat door and hear the real thing. Ms. Corey - holder of several 1950's and 60's scooby-doo championships for I Love My Baby, etc., has shed all traces of Your Hit Parade and become a grown-up singer of sad songs in a yearning voice filled with sensual surprises and other nice things.
"If you happen to be harboring any leftover crushes on Jill Corey, you've had it. She digs into My Man as if Edith Piaf and Fanny Brice had just been practicing
"The Riverboat - a sort of 'USS Nightclub' - is more suited to Ethel Merman, or maybe the Super Bowl, than to Ms. Corey, who overcame the engine-room ambiance and enough mechanical lapses to drive any lesser singer to mutiny.
"The crowd was there for the big-band sounds of Stan Ribin, not the small-girl sounds of Jill Corey, whose sweet, intimate, human-sized voice is designed for some dark, quiet, understanding room.
"Ms. Corey - a performer with great style, appeal, class and enough heart for any ten current pop singers - has the simple ability, and confidence, to sing directly and well. It's a lovely voice layered with feeling, no tricks.
"Her only trick at the Riverboat (where this meeting of Jill Corey sympathizers continues through January 25th) is to make eye contact across a moat of a dance floor. She flung songs across the expanse-like preserves - a throbbing Maybe This Time, a seductive Last Blues Song, and a Yesterday that cried real tears."
Nachmanin the New York Times
"It was nineteen years ago this fall that 18-year-old Norma Jean Speranza of Avonmore, Pennsylvania, went through a Hollywood fairy tale experience - but for real. A radio station manager sent a tape of her voice to Mitch Miller, then a prominent figure at Columbia Records. Mr. Miller auditioned her, signed her, changed her name to Jill Corey, and started her on a career that included regular stints on such programs as Your Hit Parade and recordings that sold in the millions.
"After several years of retirement, while she was busy being a wife and mother, Miss Corey is back in town singing at the Downstairs at the Upstairs.
"Hearing her now, it is hard to believe that she was ever involved in anything as mechanistic as Your Hit Parade. Miss Corey has flair and individually, qualities Your Hit Parade would never tolerate. And she has a voice, an honest voice with color and shading and a delivery that is as successful in a bittersweet vignette of lonliness as it is in belting out one of her old record hits or applying her own approach to such contemporary songs as Yesterday or I'm Singing This Song for You.
"Despite her distant roots, Miss Corey is no part of the nostalgia parade. She is of the present - a vital, spirited, pertinent singer who may have returned to action just in time to come into her own."
S. Wilson in the New York Times
New York Times
Delores Gray, Musical Comedy Star