Three time Tony Award-winning "Audra McDonald" delighted the Prince Music Theater audience last Monday evening with her multi-textured voice, sardonic presence and actorial virtuosity. For any avid theatergoer, Ms. McDonald is the performer who is constantly poised on the cutting edge -- for she is a loyal champion of new composers as reflected in her eclectic program. The evening was like a Chinese menu of current Broadway tunesmiths with a sprinkling of classic Great White Way composers. TWO FROM Ricky Ian Gordon Daybreak in Alabama and Heaven which were poems by Langston Hughes from "Only Heaven"
Michael John La Chuisa:
I See What I Wanna See from "R Shomon"
There Will Be a Miracle from "Glory Day"
Baby Moon and How Glory Goes
George & Ira Gershwin:
Someone To Watch Over Me and
He Loves and She Loves
Sheldon Harnick & Jerry Bock:
When Did I Fall in Love? from "Fiorello"
Jason Robert Brown:
Stars and the Moon from "Songs for a New World"
Hosing the Furniture from "Sitting on the Edge of the Future"
Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein & P. G. Wodehouse
Bill from "Showboat"
Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer:
I Had Myself a True Love from "St. Louis Woman"
Nell Benjamin & Laurence O'Keefe
Is It Me You Want to Kiss? from "Sarah Plain and Tall"
Annie Kessler & Jeffrey Blumenkrantz
I Won't Mind from "The Other Franklin"
Highlights for me from this musical grab bag of goodies included witnessing Ms. McDonald soar through "When Did I Fall in Love?", a song which seems to have been made for her luscious soprano instrument. "I Won't Mind", a song about a maiden aunt who doesn't mind caring for her sibling's children brought me to tears and "Hosing the Furniture", with all its musical quotes of other songs struck me as bizarrely hilarious. Previously, not being a fan of the music from Adam Guettel's "Floyd Collins", Ms. McDonald made me appreciate its sweeping operatic drama when she sang, "How Glory Goes". Twice Ms. McDonald stopped at the onset of a number, losing her place in the lyrical pattern. She simply started again, declaring that she wanted to do justice to the words that the lyricists had written. Nobody seemed to mind. We were on a journey with Miss Audra, so if at times there were stops and starts, we didn't notice because most of it was quite a ride.
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