Sharon McNight proves you don't need smoke, mirrors, or a yen for ego-bruising to be a world-class diva. With her smoky eyes, arch expression, and immaculate bouffant, the Tony Award-winning McKnight seethes with the kind of cleverly manufactured persona that puts her right on par with, say, Carol Channing -- sans the demented facial contortions. In her latest show, Songs to Offend Almost Everyone, McKnight offers a tawdry corrective to all the seasonal schmaltz with a switchblade flick of sass and humor. She belts it out between conversational ribbing and politically incorrect vignettes about everything from toothbrushes and toilets to Hurricane Katrina. McKnight effortlessly juggles Weimar-era cabaret, Tin Pan Alley jingles, and devotional ditties, skewering them all. With inspiration that encompasses ribald wartime ditties and the satirical turns of Randy Newman, McKnight is kind of the John Waters of the cabaret set -- setting out to give us the filthiest lyrical entertainment of the 20th century. On her turf, nothing's sacred, but don't expect the show to be limited to cheap shock value. McKnight has always insisted her job is to make people feel a range of emotions, and Songs is no different.
The show's 19-day run ends today.
Dec. 12-30, 2 p.m., 2007