Westport singer-actress Leslie Orofino will perform some of the best-loved works from the American songbook in her one-woman Valentine’s show, “Affairs of the Heart, at the Westport Historical Society on February 8, 2015 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Blues and cabaret lovers can look forward to hearing a selection of Orofino’s favorite songs from the likes of Peggy Lee and Alberta Hunter. “I love to tell a story when I sing,” said Orofino, and one story she loves to tell is that of Hunter, who grew up in poverty in the American South and became a popular blues artist here and in Europe before leaving the stage to become a nurse and take care of her ailing mother. After the death of her mother, and while Hunter was in her early 80s, she returned to singing and became a sensation once again. Orofino’s show will include Hunter’s gritty blues riff, “Handy Man.”
The singer describes her Valentine’s show as “a celebration of all things that make your heart beat a little faster, through the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Alberta Hunter, Harry Warren and many others.”
After seeing Orofino perform her act “Red Hot and Blues” at New York’s Laurie Beechman Theatre, cabaret icon Julie Wilson said, “Leslie has a certain elegance mixed with sex appeal that sells each and every song. She’s also a great comedian.”
Ms. Orofino has also performed at such New York cabaret haunts as the Algonquin’s Oak Room, Danny’s Skylight Room, the Waldorf and the Plaza. She has appeared locally at Fairfield University’s Quick Center and the Fairfield Theater Company and as Kay Goodman in the musical “Nite Club Confidential” at the Westport Country Playhouse. In 2002, Orofino released the CD “Moonlight Cocktails,” a collection of moonlight standards of the ’30s and ’40s.
Among her treasured memories are the times she sang with her father, a businessman who also sang professionally, at the Oak Room. “I have always loved the music of the ’30s and ’40s mainly because my dad filled our home with his gorgeous tenor voice singing those songs. … I love performing and for a few years had the honor of having my darling dad as my special guest singer at the Algonquin.” The song they sang together was Dorothy Field’s “Just the Way You Look Tonight.”
For her WHS concert Orofino will be accompanied by award-winning musician Daryl Kojak on piano. The show is directed by Louis D. Pietig. In addition to performing, Orofino gives private voice and piano lessons. To learn more about her career, go to her website, www.leslieorofino.com.
“Affairs of the Heart,” Sunday, Feb. 8, 4 p.m. $25 for Members, $30 for Non-Members and reservations are suggested: (203) 222-1424. A Valentine Reception with champagne and chocolate will follow. Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, across from Town Hall. For more information about the WHS, go to http://westporthistory.org. For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com