Environmental Jeremiad, Complete With Ukulele

Nellie McKay on Rachel Carson and Mother Nature
By Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Outfitted in caps and gowns, the singer Nellie McKay and her musicians trouped onto the stage of Feinstein’s at Loews Regency on Tuesday evening with mischievous smirks on their faces. Along with the show’s title, “Silent Spring — It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature,” the costumes signaled what was ahead: a zany homemade one-woman musical comedy with an educational agenda and more wardrobe changes to come.

The caps and gowns, which were soon discarded, suggested a collective graduation from naïveté about nature and the world we inhabit into a more complex awareness. Ms. McKay personified a contradiction: an ingenuous naïf with a torch singer’s sophistication. This alter ego became a fairy-tale version of her show’s heroine, the pioneering conservationist Rachel Carson who died in 1964.

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