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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Margaret Whiting Celebrates Movies' Great Songwriters

May 30, 1996|DON HECKMAN

The first number in Margaret Whiting's Cinegrill show on Tuesday was "Hooray for Hollywood"--the perfect choice for a performance tinged with memories of a golden musical past, attended by a crowd studded with her contemporaries.

Whiting, 71, chose the piece in part because of its connection with her own youthful years in Hollywood, in part because it was written by her father, songwriter Richard Whiting. She included two other Whiting classics, "Guilty" and "My Ideal," and reminisced about what it was like to grow up surrounded by some of the great Hollywood songwriters of the '30s and '40s.

In the decade between 1945 and 1955, when Whiting created a string of more than 40 hit records, she was best known for the pure clarity of her voice and the intelligence she brought to her singing. Although she now has a somewhat darker sound, she still performs with solid musicality and has added an intimate, storytelling quality to her readings that was not always present in her younger years.

She sang a number of the tunes closely associated with her, among them "That Old Black Magic," "It Might as Well Be Spring" and "Moonlight in Vermont." But Whiting did not limit herself to nostalgia, showcasing "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" from her own stage performance of the song, and adding a few more contemporary numbers.

* Margaret Whiting performs at the Radisson Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel Cinegrill, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., tonight, Tuesday, Wednesday and next Thursday at 8 p.m., $15; Friday, Saturday and June 7 at 8 and 10 p.m., and Sunday and June 8 at 8 p.m., $20. $10 per person minimum purchase. (213) 466-7000

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