Hilary Kole performing her new cabaret set at 54 Below with a five-piece band and a selection of originals, pop, jazz and musical theater.

“…..she found her mojo in a devastating performance of the Burt Bacharach-Elvis Costello ballad “God Give Me Strength,” introduced in the 1996 movie “Grace of My Heart.” It is a song that can only register if invested with an operatic intensity, and Ms. Kole rose to the occasion with an anguished performance whose mixture of rage and grief nearly matched the definitive recording by Audra McDonald. It was the first time I’ve heard Ms. Kole completely let go.

She brought the same fervor to Stevie Nicks’s “Landslide” in a full-voiced rendition that captured every nuance of this reflection on emotional destruction and recovery. Ms. Kole explained that until now, she had stayed away from the singer-songwriter canon of the 1970s and beyond. But she demonstrated — not only here but also in two original numbers, “A Sliver of You” and “Where Are the Angels,” on which she accompanied herself on piano — that this is exactly where she should have been all along…..”