Thursday, March 31, 2011

cd review- Christine Ebersole Sings Noel Coward

Looking back at my review of the film Paper Moon yesterday and my comment about Christine Ebersole who starred in the musicalized version of that story, made me think of her latest recording- Christine Ebersole Sings Noel Coward.
Ebersole has had an extremely long and varied career.  She was a member of the Saturday Night Live cast in 1981/1982 but also appeared on the soap Ryan's Hope in the late 70's.  She had recurring or guest parts in many tv shows including The Cavanaughs, Will and Grace, Valerie's Family, Ally McBeal and the current show Royal Pains as well as suporting parts in several films including Amadeus, Tootsie and Dead Again.  She is also an accomplished singer and played "Tessie Tura" in the tv film of Gypsy and has won two Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical.  
  As a gifted comical singing actress she also has had a successful career performing at various cabaret venues in New York City and across the country.  She has a few recordings of her cabaret shows available that show her wonderful voice and delivery.She has appeared on Broadway a dozen times.  Her first big role was as "Ado Annie" in the 1979 revival of Oklahoma!  She won the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for the 2001 revival of 42nd Street.  But her biggest success was her dual roles of Edith Bouvier Beale and "Little" Edie Beale (picture of her as "Little Edie" above right) in the 2006 musical Grey Gardens which was based on the cult film of the same name. And even though the production wasn't a commercial success, only running about a year in total with the combined original Off Broadway and subsequent Broadway runs, Ebersole won her second best Musical Actress Tony for the show.

She played Elvira in the 2009 revival of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit opposite Rupert Everett  and Angela Lansbury and for that production she made several recordings of Coward songs that were played during the scene changes.  Even though these recordings only lasted less than a minute each, they hit a positive note with theatre goers who asked if a recording of them existed, unfortunately one hadn't been made.  But fortunately, Ebersole did record an entire album of Coward songs that was released this past Fall.

Her renditions of these songs is simply astounding.  There isn't a misstep in any of the selections but my favorites are "World Weary," "If Love Were All," "Mad About the Boy" the coupling of "Never Again" and "Sail Away" and a beautiful duet of "Room With a View" with Howard McGillin.  This is one of those albums for anyone who appreciates classic songs interpreted by someone who knows how to deliver them clearly and accurately without trying to update them
unnecessarily.  The fact that Ebersole is such a gifted actress allows the heartbreak and love within the lyrics to shine in a new way.  The arrangements by musical director Larry Yurman are beautiful played and also a throw back to the period the recordings come from.

Highly recommended.

Ebersole in Blithe Spirit
Songs on the recording are:
Someday I'll Find You
Any Little Fish/It's Only You
You Were There
A Room with a View (duet with Howard McGillin)
Chase Me Charlie
Matelot/Come The Wild, Wild Weather
I'll Follow My Secret Heart
World Weary
If Love Were All
Mad About the Boy
Never Again/Sail Away
The Dream Is Over
When My Ship Comes Home
I'll See You Again


Amazon link for the cd - Christine Ebersole Sings Noel Coward

Amazon link for the Grey Gardens cd- Grey Gardens: Original Broadway Cast Recording

Amazon link for the 42nd Cast Recording - 42nd Street (2001 Revival Broadway Cast)

Amazon link for Christine Ebersole Sunday in New York cd - Sunday In New York

Amazon link for Christine Ebersole- In Your Dreams cd - In Your Dreams

2007 Tony Perfromance from Grey Gardens -

Christine sings "Around the World" from Grey Gardens

Christine sings "I Only Have Eyes For You" from 42nd Street on The Rosie O'Donnell Show-

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