Cabaret on her mind: Tovah Feldshuh brings one-woman show to S.F.

In her one-woman cabaret show, “Tovah: Out of Her Mind!” Tovah Feldshuh transforms herself into a baker’s dozen of characters, from a snobby Manhattan socialite, to a working-class Brooklynite named Joe, to her dearly departed bubbe, Ada.

That’s not multiple personality disorder. That’s entertainment.

Though the five-time Tony-nominated actress created the show 15 years ago, Feldshuh has never performed it in the Bay Area. Until now. “Tovah: Out of Her Mind!” plays Saturday, Dec. 13 and Sunday, Dec. 14 at Feinstein’s at the Nikko  Hotel in San Francisco.


Tovah Feldshuh

Accompanied by a pianist, Feldshuh not only morphs into 13 characters, she also belts out classics from the Great American Songbook, from George Gershwin to Cole Porter and back again.


The last time she came to town, in 2005, Feldshuh portrayed another character from her repertoire: Golda Meir, in the one-woman stage drama “Golda’s Balcony.” She originated the role in 2003, won a Drama Desk Award for her work, and has been reviving the play ever since.

“I take her out, dust her off and bring her to life perennially,” Feldshuh says of playing the late Israeli prime minister. “I love doing her. It’s also a way of communicating a very important message.”

Whether playing Golda or that dude named Joe, Feldshuh says her approach always involves the same technique.

“I’m an actor by trade,” she says from her New York home, “a transformational storyteller. That’s what I love to do. I hope to take the best of me to San Francisco when I make my cabaret debut there.”

Feldshuh arrives in the Bay Area on the heels of a long run co-starring in the hit Broadway revival of the musical “Pippin,” a job that required performing a few daring acrobatics.

Not a problem for the athletic 61-year-old. Even in her cabaret show she turns a cartwheel or two.

“I love to move,” she says. “I’m no Olympian but I am very physical and it shows up in my act because of who I am and what I believe in: Keep moving.”

She certainly hasn’t stopped landing plumb roles; Feldshuh got her first Broadway gig some 40 years ago. Her stage credits run the gamut, from Shakespeare to Lillian Hellman.

Also a familiar face on screen, Feldshuh may be best known for her Emmy-nominated role on “Law & Order” (playing attorney Danielle Melnick), but she also co-starred in such films as “A Walk on the Moon” and “Kissing Jessica Stein.”

Her name may be a giveaway, but Feldshuh doesn’t mind being perceived as a Jewish actress. Raised in a Jewish home in New York City, she was born with the name Terri Sue, but later changed to her Hebrew name.

 “I changed it to Tovah when I fell in love,” she recalls. “Tovah was so exotic sounding.”

Though she never lacked for roles, Feldshuh might have become more of a celebrity had she not devoted so much time and energy to her family. Married 38 years to attorney Andrew Levy, she has two children.

Both are grown now, so Feldshuh says she has been enjoying a newfound sense of liberation. She just wrapped three months of shooting on an upcoming series (she won’t say which; it’s top secret) and she is getting ready for some long-overdue traveling. Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro is on the itinerary.

Then it’s back to the stage and the set.

“Growing older, you make more time, not less,” Feldshuh says. “On one hand you rush around; on the other, you take a breath. If I’ve been doing this for 40 years, I guess I can’t be too lousy at it.”

“Tovah: Out of Her Mind!”
plays 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 13 and 14, at Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 222 Mason St., S.F. $45-$60. (866) 663-1063 or

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.