MANHATTAN — If cabaret singing is storytelling, then, boy, does Renee Katz have a story to tell.
Her show is called Never Been Gone, currently at Don’t Tell Mama.
“The message of the show is to concentrate on not what you have lost, but on what you’ve been lucky enough to keep,” Katz told PIX11.
Back in 1979, Katz, then an 18-year-old High School of Music and Art aspiring flutist, was pushed in front of the subway train.
She survived but her right hand was severed. Doctors were able to reattach her hand, but she was never able to play the flute again.
A nurse at Bellevue helped her move forward.
“She told me you have five minutes of every day to feel sorry for yourself,” Katz told PIX11. “And the rest of the time you’ve got to get up and do something. She then handed me a pad of paper” to begin learning how to write with her left hand.
Renee went through years of rehab and eventually became an occupational therapist, helping other teens with life altering injuries.
She says her inspiration through it all was her father, a Holocaust survivor.
“I smile because I saw my father smile,” Katz told PIX11. “That’s how he dealt with things, he smiled, and he created a beautiful life here.”
In her cabaret show at Don’t Tell Mama, Renee is able to play a piano piece written by her hearing-impaired mother and to tell us all through her poetry and song that she has “Never Been Gone,” the name of her show.