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Rumer WiIlis Makes a Stunning Debut at the Café Carlye

by Photo of Paul Hansen

The child of Hollywood superstars demonstrates her own formidable talent.

Rumer WiIlis Makes a Stunning Debut at the Café Carlye


Rumer Willis made a triumphant debut in front of a packed and enthusiastic audience at the Café Carlyle last Tuesday. The child of two entertainment superstars (Bruce Willis and Demi Moore) it is apparent that Ms. Willis has a considerable talent of her own.

Ms. Willis chose love as the unifying theme for the songs she selected, recognizing that the central emotion can bring both joy and tribulation. She expressed some disappointment with her past dating experiences, which might be reassuring for those having similar problems (and who hasn't experienced some frustration in this area at some time?).

After vibrant renditions of such songs as "A Sunday Kind of Love"  and "Since I Fell For You",  Rumer stated that she has little patience for the games people play in forming relationships. This led to a rendition of Doris Day's "Perhaps," a pithy song of the teasing and indirect quality that romantic entanglements can have.  Rumer stated that she preferred more direct and honest approaches.  Other selections from her memorable set included Pat Benatar's "Bloodshot Eyes" and a touching rendition of Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child."  

I thought that Ms. Willis has a lovely resonant voice, with a particularly dark and sultry quality in the lower register.  Her singing at times reminded me of Peggy Lee, especially in the cooler and more subdued sections of the songs. She also has a stage presence that is confident, charming and winning.

I would think that it would take some courage to step into the spotlight when you have two very prominent parents in show business, knowing that comparisons will inevitably be made to them. It is obvious that Ms. Willis has inherited her parents' talented genes. But it is also clear that Rumer is a considerable talent whose gifts definitely stand out and can be appreciated on their own.

Approaching 28, Rumer has aleady had a significant career in show business. In addition to appearing in a number of films (including several with her mother),  Rumer made her Broadway debut last year as Roxie Hart in the long running musical Chicago.  She also recently starred in the pilot for Songbyrd  (about famed songwriter Diane Warren) for the E! Network.  She won Season 20 of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, and is currently at work on her debut album with noted record  producer and song writer Linda Perry.  

Ms. Willis  was accompanied at the Carlye by a talented trio of musicians – James Sampliner (piano and musical director), Danny Weller (bass) and Dan Berkery (drums). The instrumentalists were also making their debut at the Carlyle and like Rumer seemed completely at home there. I admired the way in which they played with great precision while being adaptable to the spontaneous ebb and flow that live music making requires.

Ms. Willis is first in a trio of talented ladies who will be making their debuts at the Café Carlyle this month. Famed mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins will have her debut engagement from April 12-16. Ms. Jenkins has had tremendous success as a classical crossover artist singing with such luminaries as Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.  Ms. Jenkins has also been invited to sing at The Queen's upcoming 90th birthday celebration at Windsor.  And legendary Broadway star Chita Rivera will be appearing at the Carlyle from April 19-30.

Like predictable clockwork Woody Allen and The Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band have been playing at the Carlyle every Monday evening for the past several months and will continue to do so through June 13. Predictability in a world that seems a little more topsy-turvy than usual can be a good thing.

Rumer Willis' last two performances at the Carlyle are this evening (April 9) at 8:45 and 10:45. One can only hope that this will be the first of many return engagements, and that she will soon find greater happiness in her personal relationships. Gems deserve as much.



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