Wednesday, April 6, 2011

cd review - An Evening with Sutton Foster Live at the Café Carlyle

While it seems that Sutton Foster burst onto the Broadway scene with her star performance in Thoroughly Modern Millie, she actually had already appeared in several Broadway shows before her Tony Award winning performance as "Millie" in 2002.   She has appeared in four Broadway shows after Millie, and received Tony nominations for three of them.  She is currently in previews for her fifth post-Millie show, Anything Goes, which opens this Thursday, and will most likely score her fifth Tony nomination for that part as well. 

Sutton released her first solo cd "Wish" two years ago, and her latest cd, "An Evening with Sutton Foster Live at the Café Carlyle" was just released a few weeks ago.

After the release of her "Wish" recording, she set out on a tour that stopped in several cities across the US.  These concerts were mainly a combination of songs from "Wish" and songs from some of the shows she's appeared in, along with humorous patter between the songs.   She also appeared for two weeks at New York City's Café Carlyle last Summer, performing a show similar to the concerts she had previously toured across the country, with musical director and arranger Michael Rafter and guitarist Kevin Kuhn.  Her new recording comes from those concerts.

Sutton has charm, sweetness, a good sense of humor and an extremely clear voice - all of which come through in spades on this recording.   The material she covers on the cd is varied and somewhat eclectic, but she delivers every song with a soulfulness that few performers have.  She is a Broadway leading lady who is known for her ability to deliver and belt to the rafters. But the great thing about her voice is she also has a soft side to it that has such charm and passion underneath.   A slow and quietly sung "Warm All Over" and an jazzy "Down With Love" are perfect examples that show the passion and warmth she has without having to belt.  Of course, she does deliver on the "belt songs" as well including a humorous bit when she has a member of the audience pick one of five potential "broadway belt" songs from a cup.   The winner on the recording is Wicked's "Defying Gravity" - along with a second one, "And I Am Telling You" from Dreamgirls which she performs as an encore.  Her delivery of both is as expected, sublime and perfect theatrical delivery of two big show stopping songs.  As far as non-theatre songs goes, her performance of John Denver's "Sunshine On My Shoulder" is delivered in such a dream like state, with emphasis on the lyrics, that it makes you pay attention to what I always thought of as a throw-away pop song in a new light.   She also couples "Anyone Can Whistle" - which she performed in last year's Encores! production of that musical, with another Sondheim gem, "Being Alive" - and gets across the hopeful yet fearful feelings that both songs conjure up.

Sutton in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Little Women, The Drowsy Chaperone,
Young Frankenstein and Shrek and below with Joel Grey in Anything Goes.
 The recording also includes plenty of humorous material- not just the patter between songs but also Sutton delivers a comic gem "Air Conditioner" that I remember Betty Buckley singing in concert back in the mid 90's. It is a perfect song to sing in the Summer months, when this concert originally took place.

This recording is highly recommended!

Songs on the recording include: 
I'm Beginning To See The Light
Not For The Life Of Me / NYC / Astonishing
Up on the Roof
Air Conditioner   
Warm All Over   
Show Off   
More to the Story   
My Heart Was Set On You   
Down With Love   
I Like The Sunrise   
Defying Gravity   
Late Late Show   
Sunshine on my Shoulders   
Anyone Can Whistle / Being Alive   
Come The Wild Wild Weather   
Here, There, Everywhere   
And I Am Telling You 

Amazon link for the cd  Wish

Amazon link for the cd

"Gimme, Gimme" from Thoroughly Modern Millie - performed on the Rosie O'Donnell Show -

The Drowsey Chaperone performance from the Tony Awards - "Show Off"

Rehearsal performance of "Anything Goes" from Anything Goes -

"Flight" with Megan McGinnis - appears on Sutton's "Wish" album -

Shrek Tony Awards Perfromance- "I Know It's Today" -

Singing "Up On the Roof" from her Barnes and Noble appearance- song appears on "Wish"

1 comment:

  1. I really like SUTTON foster. Keep posting about this topic.

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