Wendy Domarecki, cabaret singer


Wendy Anne Domarecki, who as an eighth-grader used to tap dance between classes in the hallways of Dumbarton Middle School and eventually became an actress and cabaret singer, died Aug. 30 at her mother's home in Towson of cancer. She was 42.

A Manhattan resident since 1988, Miss Domarecki was a pianist and vocalist at such New York nightspots as the Rainbow Room, Windows on the World, the Hotel Lexington, Judy Nino's Restaurant and the Rihga Hotel.

For the past six years, she had been a vocalist with Danny Schramm's Jazz Coalition in New York. Locally, she appeared at the Belvedere and other hotels. During the 1980s, she performed aboard cruise ships as a singer.

Her specialty was romantic and big band music from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

"She was a very intimate and sensual singer with a Peggy Lee-type husky voice," said Mr. Schramm. "She sang the George Gershwin and Cole Porter repertoire and would drive the audience wild with her rendition of Duke Ellington's 'Just Squeeze Me.' She would take a number like 'Honeysuckle Rose,' slow it way down and make it very unique. When she sang she stole everyone's heart. She was amazing. She hit New York, never used an agent and hustled herself into jobs and developed quite a following."

Anne McCall of Boston, who befriended Miss Domarecki when they were students at Dumbarton Middle in Rodgers Forge, said: "Her working wardrobe was evening gowns and cocktail dresses and with that deep, sultry, smoky voice, she beckoned $l audiences to have a drink, sit back, smoke a cigarette . . . and dream."

Miss Domarecki's first love remained the theater, and in 1994 she appeared Off-Broadway in a production of "Crime and Punishment." She had toured upstate New York as a member of the Mettawee River Company and earlier had worked in Alaska, where she won critical acclaim for her performance as Lady Macbeth.

As a youngster, she studied acting in Baltimore and worked at the Spotlighters theater.

After graduating from Towson High School in 1971, she studied at the Webster University Theater Conservatory in St. Louis. Later, as a drama student at Towson State University, she appeared opposite actor Charles Dutton, also a student, in "The Detective Story." She performed in "Our Town" at Center Stage in the mid-1980s.

"She was extremely creative and very intense about her work," said Paul Berman, former chairman of the theater department at TSU and currently director of the Theater School of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Mr. Berman described her as "a perfectionist, the kind of actor people want to be around."

Miss Domarecki was a member of the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the American Federation of Musicians.

Services were to be held at 5:30 p.m. today at the Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, 6500 York Road. A memorial service will be held in October in New York.

Survivors include her mother, Sheila J. Domarecki; a sister, Pamela Boskind of Towson; two nephews; and a niece.

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