HERALD & NEWS
Cabaret Singer's 'Weighty' New Show
Some people sing the blues when they can't lose weight, but not Naomi Calka Miller. When it comes to dieting, the weight conscious-vocalist has a different frame of mind.
"If you can't lose it," she explains, "use it," That's exactly what the North Jersey cabaret singer and recording artist has done.
Collaborating with Carole Wechter, songwriter for Pushcart Players, she created original lyrics and melodies for humorous songs in "Love, Marriage, Children and Liposuction," an original cabaret show at Don't Tell Mama" on W. 46th Street in New York City.
While her act touches on the ups and downs of dieting, it also spotlights humorous aspects of marriage and family life.
The entertainer knows firsthand about weight loss; she has tried practically every known diet program on the planet. "I've lost enough weight to become a member of at least three Popular diet programs," the talented chanteuse says with a laugh. "The problem is the weight comes back. I'm now on two diets, but not throwing out any of my clothes. I've got just about every size in my closet."
Having tried so many diets, Naomi says she has a wealth of material for her cabaret act enough to last a lifetime.
Will she ever record a humorous, weight-inspired tune like "She's Too Fat for Me?" the comical ditty which Put Arthur Godfrey on the Top Ten chart years back?
Only time will tell.
The Talented songtress has already made a few albums. Her first was "Yiddish is in My Genes" and the second, "Keeping, Our Dreams Alive," in which she sings in Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, English and Ladino, the language of the Jews of Spain.
There are two others as well. One is a live recording of her last concert "From Klezmer to Broadway" and the other, "Broadway to Klezmer," in which she performs in French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Yiddish and Japanese. Proficient in a dozen languages, Naomi has presented international programs in Greenwich Village as well as the at the Wallington Exchange in North Jersey
Her ability to speak in many foreign tongues is obviously the result of her childhood in Europe.
During her childhood in Germany, she lived in a camp for displaced persons in Landsberg, and became fluent in several languages including Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian and German.
Despite her expertise in language, she did not seek a job as an interpreter.
"I've wanted to sing professionally ever since I was a child," she says. "It was obviously in my genes."
Instead of singing in the shower, Naomi got her big start when she belted out a few tunes in a mikvah (a ritual Jewish bath) maintained by her parents in Paterson.
Fifteen at the time, she decide to rehearse in the mikvah because it had tiled walls, which were great for acoustics.
What she didn't know was that someone was tuned in.
Hearing her marvelous voice the listener signed her immediately for a Mother's Day program at Yavneh Academy, where she w a student.
Her childhood ambition didn't change when she entered Eastside High School. It only grew more intense.
Today, she is also somewhat of juggler, balancing stage, appearances with her work as a speech therapist at the Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne.
Husband, Harvey, an attorney in Hackensack, is among her greatest fans.
According to Naomi, the upcoming show will contain references to "wonderful Harvey."
"He rarely misses my show," she says. "Harvey often does sign language to interpret the show for deaf people in the audience. He learned sign to help one of our two grown sons who is deaf, and is no using experience told help others. The upcoming show will include a song for our deaf son. I think it's a positive way of spreading deaf awareness."
According to Naomi, the new show (performances are planned for Nov. 7 and 20) is a bit different than her other performances.
Instead of singing in foreign languages, she vocalizes totally in English. Because of her versatility, reviewers see her as a composite of Molly Picon, Madeleine Kahn, Edith Piaf and the Andrew Sisters. Naomi was obviously destined to spotlight dieting in her cabaret show.
The motto under her photo in the senior yearbook at Paterson Eastside High School said," I'll tell you about my diet later."