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Posted by / 03-May-2017 01:41

" A sparkling example of the revue genre with Mel Brooks as one of its writers, the show cemented her stardom, Walter Kerr in the Herald Tribune describing her as "a fetchingly cat-like songstress who does inexplicably pleasant things with a little French lyric, 'Bal Petit Bal', and who drives home a sulky number called 'Monotonous' to top the second act." The latter was the quintessential number for Kitt at that time, a vibrant lament of a blasé seductress who bemoaned, "I met a rather amusing fool, while on the way to Istanbul – he bought me the Black Sea for a swimming pool... " as she slithered and postured over a row of sleek divans.

For "C'Est Si Bon" she wore a black skirt and leopard-skin top, whipping off the skirt near the close to reveal that the top belonged to a provocative, one-piece bathing suit.

He had backed up his opinion by featuring her in a play he produced in the French capital, and is alleged to have had a torrid affair with her some years later.

It is easy to understand the impact Kitt had, for there had never been a performer quite like her.

" Her reputation on the cabaret circuit grew, and she returned to New York in December 1951, for an engagement at the 54th Street night club La Vie en Rose.Her parents worked on a cotton farm, and named her Eartha because the harvest was good that year.Abandoned by her father when young, she was later placed with foster parents by her mother, who wanted to get married."I have a great need for affection from an audience," she said."I don't know whether this is because I had such a tough life when I was a child." Kitt returned to Broadway in December 1954, to star in Mrs Patterson, the story of an adolescent girl in the Deep South in the 1920s who fantasises conflicting dream lives – one as a dignified, rich white woman, the other as a black hellion – before accepting reality.

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She was later to admit that it was "a horrible flop", with Variety commenting, "Miss Kitt seems to have plenty of confidence, but she lacks pace and needs to be sharply routined. She could conceivably build a rep along novelty lines, as a coloured songstress who bases her catalogue on French tunes." Max Gordon, the enterprising owner of the Village Vanguard, spotted Kitt's potential and two months later she opened at his club to a great reception.

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