"I am a fan of POOR BABY BREE. I love her." -- Lou Reed
"A haunting, deeply touching, spot-on evocation of a moment
in the distant theatrical past, yet with a very cool and effortless
post-modernist twist. It is also profoundly funny." -- Charles Busch
"Astounding....Her voice, her songs about things people just don't sing about anymore, her sadness and cleverness -- it made me laugh and cry at the same time. What an amazing performer!" -- Laurie Anderson
"The most magnificent cabaret act I have ever seen.
Submit to the exquisite musical tragedy that is Poor Baby Bree." -- Paul Shaffer
"A peculiar thing of beauty; like being inside a music box
from the turn of the last century. Haunting, hip, and unusual." -- Jackie Hoffman
Built around creator Bree Benton's portrayal of Poor Baby Bree, an archetypal waif, I Am Going to Run Away weaves a tragicomic narrative of innocence and loss around seventeen obscure vaudeville and parlor songs (dating from the 1890s -1930s), collected through archival research into period sheet music, along with Victorian-era sentimental poetry and Benton’s original writing. Songs in the show include: "I'm Just a Rose (in the Devil's Garden)," "I'll Pin Another Petal on the Daisy," and "Soap, the Oppressor."
The models for Benton's alter ego include icons of silent and early sound cinema (Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, The Little Rascals, The Bowery Boys), filmed documents of forgotten vaudeville comedians (the Foy family, Joe Frisco), and vocalists from Eddie Cantor to Ruby Keeler. Writing in Time Out New York, critic and music historian James Gavin (Intimate Nights, Stormy Weather) asks, "What led her to adopt this antique persona? So hauntingly does she inhabit it that you may conclude that Bree Benton is not of this time, nor even this world."
Benton’s previous show as Poor Baby Bree, Weary River, earned awards from Time Out New York ("strange and intensely well performed, this is a unique and special show" -- Adam Feldman) and BackStage ("Unique Artist"). Recent appearances in revues and group performances include Laurie and Friends (directed by Laurie Anderson) at BAM, Joe's Pub's popular Our Hit Parade (performing a '20s-styled arrangement of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin',") and Dixon Place's "Vanishing City" series. Her recording of 1891's classic "The Bowery" is currently featured on the website of preservationist group The Bowery Alliance of Neighbors.