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REVIEWS - Cabaret

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54 Below

The New York Times
January 29, 2013
Stephen Holden
Right Tune, Right Singer: Pure Alchemy
"Bemused," the title of the singer Christine Andreas’s deliciously tangy show at 54 Below, is one of the most misused and hard-to-pin-down words in the English language. As Ms. Andreas reflected on its meanings at Sunday evening’s opening-night performance, one synonym, “thunderstruck,” stood out.

For her, she said, it evokes the explosive chemistry when a singer or composer and the right song collide. That would describe Judy Garland and “Get Happy!”; Ethel Waters and “Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe”; Astrud Gilberto and any song composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim; Richard Harris and the songs of Jimmy Webb; and “those very bad boys” Frank Sinatra (with, in her words, his “Jack Daniel’s-soaked heart”) and Jimmy Van Heusen.

The show’s least-known magical connection was Vivienne Segal and two Rodgers and Hart songs, “To Keep My Love Alive,” from the 1943 revival of “A Connecticut Yankee,” and “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” from “Pal Joey.” “To Keep My Love Alive,” the confessions of a serial murderer as to how she dispatched several flawed husbands, Ms. Andreas delivered with a mischievous glee. Her extremely sexy version of “Bewitched” revolved around the words “I’m a rich, ready, ripe juicy plum again.”

Ms. Andreas might be described as a recovering ingénue. The days are long gone when she starred on Broadway in revivals of “My Fair Lady” and “Oklahoma!,” but her beauty and radiance remain undimmed. Her bright, shiny soprano, with its wheeling vibrato and metallic edge, conveys a high-strung emotionality that is sharpened by her acting skills.

Her musicians, the pianist Don Rebic and the bassist Dick Sarpola, maintained a low profile in refined pop-jazz arrangements that encouraged Ms. Andreas to fly as far and wide as she wished. As the evening progressed, her phrasing became increasingly emphatic and at moments almost feisty.

Of all the connections Ms. Andreas made, the most exciting, if unlikely, was with Édith Piaf in a Parisian section that began with “I Love Paris,” declaimed as an anthem. There was nothing demure about her full-bodied renditions of “Milord” and “La Vie en Rose.” She might as well have been standing at the barricades.

The New York Observer
Rex Reed
No Surprise Here: Christine Andreas’s 'Bemused' Hits All The Right Notes
54 Below, New York’s beautiful new cabaret room in the renovated basement of the once-notorious Studio 54 disco, is playing host this week (through Feb. 2) to golden girl Christine Andreas. The ambience still exudes the decadence of its former tenant, but Ms. Andreas spreads nothing but sunshine. “Bemused,” the delightful, musically eclectic new act she has written herself, is carefully designed to illustrate the varied definitions of that all-encompassing word. This gives the charming, multi-talented song stylist myriad moods to explore, and a challenging repertoire of songs to explore them in. There’s something for everybody.

Mr. Webster’s uses for the word “bemused” include “immersed,” “surprised,” and “thunderstruck”—but Ms. Andreas’ favorite definition of “bemused,” she says, is the kind of spark that only occurs when the right singer meets the right song (or songwriter). A few perfect examples range from Judy Garland and Harold Arlen (“Get Happy!”, which she turns into a one-woman revival meeting), to all those tailored-to-fit collaborations between Frank Sinatra and Jimmy Van Heusen, who shared a passion for booze, broads and take-home tunes like “All My Tomorrows,” “Come Fly With Me” and “The Tender Trap.” This is a canon that provides a pretty good cross-section of shifting musical tempos and lyrical attitudes, on which Ms. Andreas polishes with acting chops that match her vocal skills. Her vibrant soprano, well remembered from her Broadway stardom in My Fair Lady, Jekyll and Hyde, and, most recently, the revival of La Cage aux Folles, has not diminished, and her swinging lower register is jazzier than ever. With Dick Sarpola on bass and veteran accompanist Don Rebic on piano, she spells perfection on every song.

And what songs! From pensive (recalling Ethel Waters on another Arlen song, “Happiness is a Thing Called Joe”) to insouciant (recreating the crooning Brazilian style of Astrud Gilberto singing her way to stardom in the bossa nova world of Antonio Carlos Jobim) to the pop niche carved by Dionne Warwick on those catchy Hal David-Burt Bachrach tunes like “Alfie,” she irons the wrinkles out of even the most banal lyric and adds her own starch. One surprise: a tribute to the great Lorenz Hart, who was gay but who nevertheless penned some of his best lyrics for his favorite unrequited love, actress Vivienne Segal—“To Keep My Love Alive,” about a serial killer who dreams up ingenious ways to bump off a succession of husbands, and the classic “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” which she sang to a Broadway newcomer named Gene Kelly in the original production of Pal Joey. I could do without another re-tread of Edith Piaf’s “La vie en Rose” but her firebrand soprano reaches heights of emotion that can only be described “undiluted passion.” It’s not just the sweetness of her sound, but the versatility, range and musical savvy beneath the purity of that sound. She doesn’t just make the kind of pretty notes you expect from polished sopranos—she adjusts the timbre and modulates the strength or softness that fills the needs of every song at hand. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she is as easy on the eyes as she is on the ears.

She can sing sugar. She can sing torrid. With this carefully-structured, well-rounded, painstakingly-researched show, you get your money’s worth.

The Wall St Journal
There are few greater experiences than seeing Christine Andreas singing traditional pop and theater songs, and the selections in this show are likewise some of the best songs in the canon. "Bemused" takes its theme from the "collision" of superior singers and great songwriters, but it's really just a clothesline from which to hang one showstopper after another. A major contemporary voice in musical theater who affirms that theater singing is more about subtlety than power, she scores heavily here with "All My Tomorrows" (in honor of the Sammy Cahn-Jimmy Van Heusen Centennial), which had everyone in the room weeping. So did her soaring reading of one of Jimmy Webb's more folk-ish airs, "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress." By the time the encore arrives, you want to her sing every great role that's ever been written.

Theatermania
Jan 28, 2013
Brian Scott Lipton
The two-time Tony Award nominee delivers remarkably fresh takes on a series of great standards in her stunning new show at 54 Below.
As Christine Andreas explains shortly after taking the stage at 54 Below, the title of her stunning new cabaret show, Bemused, has many definitions in the Merriam-Webster dictionary–from confused to amused–but none of them apply directly to what she has brilliantly put together in this 70-minute parade of classic tunes that showcase the perfect match of songwriter and original singer (in other words, Be Mused).

For a less seasoned artist, this sort of show would be a fool's errand, where a performer would be destined to fail in comparison to such legends as Barbra Streisand and Dionne Warwick. However, this two-time Tony Award nominee (Oklahoma! On Your Toes)–with more than three decades of acting under her belt, combined with a flexible, highly expressive soprano–simply rises to her own challenge, finding ways to make these oft-performed standards sound utterly fresh while simultaneously honoring their musical roots.

After starting off on a slightly surprising, but surefooted, note with a jazzy rendition of Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's "Get Happy" and an almost delicate take on Arlen and Yip Harburg's "Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe," Andreas delivers her first knockout punch of the evening, with a trio of Brazilian classics, "The Girl from Ipanema," "Desifinado," and "Wave," sung with a sultriness that instantly transports audiences away from chilly New York and straight down to South America.
Next up is a simply stunning version of Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen's "All My Tomorrows," followed by a medley of finger-snapping tunes also made famous by Frank Sinatra ("Come Fly With Me," "The Tender Trap," and "Come Blow Your Horn") that nicely evokes the 1950s and 1960s as Andreas shows off a gently swinging side to her musical personality.

Still, it's the latter half of Bemused during which Andreas basically stops her own show with each number. Rarely have I heard as deeply felt versions of Michel Legrand and Marilyn and Alan Bergman's "The Summer Knows," Jimmy Webb's "Didn't We" and "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress," and Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Alfie" and "What the World Needs Now." In each selection, Andreas gives full weight to the poetic lyrics of these songs in such a way that you may fully understand the words for the first time.

Speaking of words, few writers had as finely wrought a gift for them as Lorenz Hart, and Andreas does his work justice by wringing all the comic juice out of his wickedly funny "To Keep My Love Alive," about a woman who keeps offing her husband. After that, Andreas simply devours every inch of Hart's masterpiece "Bewitched," in which a middle-aged woman marvels at her surprising romance with a younger man. (Both songs were written for the great actress Vivenne Segal, with whom Hart was so besotted he proposed marriage to her three times, even though Hart was gay).

Andreas concludes her set with two songs made famous by the great Edith Piaf, "Milord" and "La Vie En Rose," both sung in French and delivered with such passion and fervor, they transcend any language barrier and provide a fantastic finale for this superbly structured show.

Broadway World
Stephen Hanks

Even her biggest fans among the opening night crowd were likely befuddled, slightly bothered, and even a tad bewildered when they heard that Christine Andreas' first cabaret show at 54 Below was called Bemused, and not exactly sure what that meant. But they would ultimately end up being thoroughly bewitched by a wonderfully engaging show by this totally entertaining pro. While most current or former Broadway stars who are staging shows at 54 Below are performing what amounts to mini-concerts, the lady who first became a Broadway audience favorite as Eliza Doolittle in the 20th anniversary production of My Fair Lady (and is two-time Tony Award nominee) knows her way around cabaret and developed a charmingly creative conceit for this run (continuing on Jan. 29, Feb. 1, 2 at 8:30 pm and Jan. 30, 31 at 7 pm), which included songs from Broadway, pop, the Great American Songbook, and even Edith Piaf.
Entering in a tight, floor-length red evening gown, the still-ravishing brunette opened jazzy and upbeat with Harold Arlen's "Get Happy" (lyrics Ted Koehler), one of the many songs associated with Judy Garland. Then the audience discovered her intention behind the show title. Andreas' definition of "bemused" (which actually means to be bewildered or confused by a thought or question) separates the syllables as if it had been a compound word and for Andreas it becomes "Be Mused," as in someone who has been so influenced by someone else that he or she becomes the focus and inspiration for that person's creative work. "It's the spark that ignites when the right singer and songwriter collide," she adds. What's difficult to determine in some of the famous musical collaborations she highlights in this show is who exactly was the muser and who was the musee. What's not difficult to determine is that when it comes to being a muse, Christine Andreas must know whereof she speaks. During her many years as a performer, this stunning songbird has no doubt been a muse, either in reality or fantasy, for many men--and likely a fair amount of women.

It's something Christine probably has in common with Astrud Gilberto, who was apparently a muse for three great musicians, her husband Joao, Stan Getz, and especially Antonio Carlos Jobim. Astrud was the voice behind Jobim's classic international 1964 hit "The Girl From Ipanema," recorded with Getz and Joao, and Astrud became Jobim's go-to singer. Andreas was bossa nova sultry on a medley of "Ipanama," and Jobim's "Desafinado" and "Wave," which the great Brazilian composer recorded with Frank Sinatra, a connection which became a mutual muse admiration society during the 1960s and '70s. Andreas seamlessly transitioned into the prolific connection between Sinatra and songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen,who wrote countless hits for "Ol' Blue Eyes." She was absolutely lovely on "All My Tomorrows," before making her case for being a retroactive member of The Rat Pack with "Come Fly With Me," "The Tender Trap" and "Come Blow Your Horn."
If you didn't know that Andreas was another great singer who was clearly influenced by Barbra Streisand, you'd figure it out listening to her beautifully envelop the audience with her luscious soprano on the Michel Legrand's wistful "The Summer Knows" (the theme from the film Summer of '42), whose lyricists Marilyn and Alan Bergman have been almost synonymous with Streisand during her career. Christine's Musical Director Don Rebic dazzled here with a lush piano arrangement that was supported by Dick Sarpola's romantic bass. 

Andreas soared on Jimmy Webb ballads associated with Richard Harris ("Didn't We") and Glen Campbell ("The Moon is a Harsh Mistress'), produced a sensual vibrato and breathy end phrases to Burt Bacharach/Hal David classics sung by Dionne Warwick ("Alfie" and "What the World Needs Now"), and was alternately operatic and playful on "To Keep My Love Alive," the biting lyric about a serial husband killer that Lorenz Hart (with Richard Rodgers music) wrote for musical theater star of the 1920s-'40s Vivienne Segal in A Connecticut Yankee. "Hart asked Segal to marry him three times," Andreas revealed, "and he was gay." She then launched into an awesomely sexy and sassy rendition of the Rodgers and Hart classic, "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," that Segal introduced in 1940 in the musical Pal Joey. I know the show had a recent revival, but some producer should bring it back for a short run just so Andreas can play Vera Simpson.

Andreas' finale highlighted a female-to-female muse connection, which was one of the most successful in modern musical history--that of Edith Piaf with French songwriter Marguerite Monnot. As she did at this October's Cabaret Convention at Rose Hall at Lincoln Center, Christine compelled the audience into rhythmic clapping with her raucous yet seductive turn on the up-tempo dance hall song, "Milord." The 54 Below crowd had barely finished their first standing ovation when Andreas cleverly slipped in a few bars of Cole Porter's "I Love Paris," before combining power and tenderness on Piaf's classic "La Vie En Rose." After the second standing O, one could only wonder how long it might be before her old fans--and now the new ones--would be coming back for Bemused 2.

Examiner.com
Sandi Durell

Suffering from the remnants of a cold on the evening I attended, vocal angel Christine Andreas took on an even more exciting addition to her colorful intonations – sultry, sexy low tones. As she noted "the bloom may be off the rose, but it’s still a rose!"

Stunning, as always, in a long red fitted gown, the chanteuse easily set the tone of the evening with Arlen/Koehler’s "Get Happy" and went on to explain the derivation of bemused or in this case, be-mused. It turns out that whether one is astounded, mystified, intrigued or thunderstruck, the significance all boils down to a singer and songwriter colliding. Such as Harold Arlen when he met Judy Garland. There was the same combustion when Arlen met Ethel Waters – from the depths and reverie of sensuality, Ms. Andreas, her phrasing and diction impeccable, flows in, around and through "Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe."

The colorful palette of songs, matching singers and songwriters, was 70 minutes of vocal intrigue; what would surely be a daunting exercise for most singers. But for Ms. Andreas, a two time Tony Award Nominee (Oklahoma, On Your Toes), blessed with a stunning vocal expertise, she moved easily through Brazilian classics "Ipanema/Desafinado/Wave" – another example of collision – Stan Getz, Astrid Gilberto, Jobim, continuing on to the pairing of Jimmy Van Heusen who kept Frank Sinatra swinging with "Come Fly With Me/Tender Trap/Come Blow Your Horn," and also very drunk, giving her a chance to swing with the best of them. And we love hearing all those backstage gossip stories.

Soaring with desire, Andreas offers a brilliant rendition of "The Summer Knows" (Legrand/Bergmans) punctuated by Don Rebic’s outstanding solo on piano (Dick Sarpola on bass). It was one punch after another, from Jimmy Webb’s poetic "Didn’t We," filled with wistful mysteriousness, into a whispered, breathy "Moon’s A Harsh Mistress." Moving on to Hal David/Burt Bacharach, Andreas soared with a powerful "What The World Needs Now" and showed off her comedic talents with Larry Hart’s wicked lyrics "To Keep My Love Alive" by offing all those husbands, and telling the back story of Hart’s intrigue with actress Vivienne Segal (A Connecticut Yankee) for whom it was written.

How one singer can interpret so many tried and true standards and familiar songs and add new dimensions, is a feat not to be taken lightly. Andreas bemused her audience throughout the show and kept raising the ante, as on "Bewitched" – sultry, sexy, sassy – finally releasing with French standards, the raunchy "Milord" and pensive "La Vie En Rose." One of the most perfect voices around, Christine Andreas is not to be missed!

Talkin Broadway
Michael Portantiere

A generation ago, Christine Andreas emerged as a great Broadway musical theater star in milestone revivals of My Fair Lady, Oklahoma!and On Your Toes. Changes in the industry, along with some family issues, kept her away from Broadway for some time, but she reemerged in The Scarlet Pimpernel and was most recently seen as Jacqueline in the 2010 La Cage aux Folles. I must mention as well her superb performance as Margaret Johnson in the national tour of The Light in the Piazza, which I was lucky enough to see twice.

Andreas has also been a sparkling presence on the cabaret scene over the past several years, and she's now making her debut at the beautifully appointed, excitingly booked, superbly well managed, newish venue 54 Below. With Don Rebic as her musical director/pianist, and Dick Sarpola on bass, her new act is a terrific showcase for Andreas' magnificent voice and her great talent as an interpreter of lyrics. No kidding, this lady sings as well if not better than ever; her voice remains perfectly equalized throughout its wide range, with no obvious register break, and is made all the more lovely by the feathery vibrato at the very core of the tone. Plus, she looks so absolutely fabulous in middle age that one imagines she might have been a movie star if her career had played out differently.

Her 54 Below show is titled Bemused-an odd choice, given the mostly negative connotations of that word and despite Andreas' attempt to redefine it. The title also seems inappropriate to the content of the show, which consists of tributes to musical artists of many different stripes. But with singing of this caliber, such objections are little more than quibbles.

Andreas's wonderfully malleable vocal instrument and stylistic virtuosity serve her well in the hommages presented here. She begins by offering up "Get Happy" as a Judy Garland/Harold Arlen tribute, then salutes Arlen and Ethel Waters with "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe." As the well-researched program continues, Andreas, Rebic and Sarpola tip their hats to Astrud Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim ("The Girl from Ipanema," "Desafinado"), Frank Sinatra and Jimmy Van Heusen (a medley), Jimmy Webb ("Didn't We," "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress"), and Hal David/Burt Bacharach ("Alfie," "What the World Needs Now").

To my ears, Andreas sings French like a native, and her "Français parfait" is demonstrated here in stirring renditions of Edith Piaf's "Milord" and "La Vie en Rose." Another late-in-the-show highlight is her performance of Rodgers and Hart's "Bewitched," which was introduced in the original Broadway production of Pal Joey by Vivienne Segal in the role of Vera Simpson-a role that Andreas made her own in a 2002 production of the show at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia.

NY Theatre Wire
Elizabeth Ahlfors

Bemused, Bothered & Bewildered.... There is not a singing style or composer’s songbook that this enchanting entertainer cannot illuminate with indelible charm, wit and elegance. A class act, Christine Andreas secures an important place in the intimacy of the cabaret world. 
Andreas’ style reflects the phrasing of Frank Sinatra, her lines flowing smoothly, her stress and phrasing animating the story.  

Times Square Chronicles
Alix Cohen

Be Captivated at 54 Below.... Really, one could listen for hours. (Christine Andreas) can be jaunty and bright without turning brassy; modulated without losing resonance. Ballads are luxurious. More gossamer notes never grow thinner, they cinematically fade.
Christine Andreas is elegant, graceful, engaging, and smart. She has a finely wrought instrument and the skills and intelligence to make the most of it.   

Empire Plush Room

Talkin' Broadway
Richard Connema
Christine Andreas Captivates the Audience at Empire Plush Room
Broadway star and Tony nominee Christine Andreas, who was recently seen here in the national tour of The Light In the Piazza, captivated the patrons at the Empire Plush Room this month with her unique vocal cords.

Ms. Andreas, with her husband Martin Silvestri at the piano, started the 85-minute presentation called Love Is Good with a smooth, soft rendition of "Fly Me to the Moon" and segued into "They Say It's Wonderful." The artist showed a warm, vivacious soprano voice in these arrangements. She sailed into show tunes like "On a Clear Day" and a murderously amusing "To Keep My Love Alive" (A Connecticut Yankee) before moving smoothly back to contemporary pop songs like Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You."

The singer-actress talked about her trip to Italy and about her husband, who is of Italian decent, and then went into an enticing rendition of Mary Chapin Carpenter's "What If We Went to Italy." Martin Silvestri joined her on Lerner and Loewe's "I Remember it Well" from Gigi. The duet was poignant and affectionate, teasing and wonderfully funny. The artist reminded me of the great Edith Piaf when singing "I Love Paris," before segueing into "La Vie En Rose."

Ms. Andreas talked about being "released" from the cast of Peter Allen's flop musical Legs Diamond; however, she remained good friends with the composer until his death. She lovingly sang for us Allen's "Love Don't Need a Reason" and then went into a poignant rendition of "Cover Me," composed by her husband. As she became a star playing Eliza Doolittle in the 20th anniversary Broadway production of My Fair Lady, she sang "I Could Have Danced All Night" with a superlatively polished finesse.

Having appeared as Marguerite St. Just in the original Broadway production of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Ms. Andreas poked fun at the Frank Wildhorn/ Nat Knighton musical. She drolly talked of the slashing and cutting of the show so it lasted another year on Broadway. She ended the session with her signature song, the exquisite "Storybook" waltz from The Scarlet Pimpernel. Martin Silvestri's arrangement is different from the over-amplified orchestra of the original cast recording. For an encore she sang a new song written by her husband: "Is This the Way to Love." Christine Andreas is one classy woman.  (read the full review)


Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Stu Hamstra's Cabaret Hotline Online
June 25, 2006
Bill Stephens
For her first appearances in Australia, Christine Andreas chose to present an evening of sophisticated classic New York cabaret with "Here's to the Ladies," her tribute to the women who had inspired her career.  Not only songs introduced on the Broadway stage by Gertrude Lawrence, Mary Martin, Julie Andrews, Angela Lansbury, Barbra Streisand, but also by Andreas herself, with the haunting "Story Book" from "The Scarlet Pimpernel".  Her versions were not as originally performed, but completely new readings of the songs of Berlin, Gershwin, Weill, Kern and Rogers and Hammerstein, each one superbly arranged and beautifully played by her accompanist, Martin Silvestri, himself a noted Broadway composer. It was an evening of pure cabaret magic. 

In a draped black ensemble, every bit as beautiful as her publicity photos had suggested, Ms. Andreas was the personification of elegance and sensual glamour, as she nostalgically sat atop the grand piano, brandy balloon in hand, to salute Helen Morgan with "Bill" from "Showboat."  Later in the program, with "Love Don't Need a Reason," she paid tribute to Peter Allen with whom she appeared in the ill-fated musical "Legs Diamond," and then Edith Piaf with a soaring version of "La Vie en Rose".  Silvestri joined her in duet for Lerner and Lowe's "I Remember It Well," and for a song he had written, "Cover Me".  He even provided her with her lovely finale song, "Is This The Way It Feels To Love".  It was a class act from beginning to end and the perfect way to launch into the second week of the 2006 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
 
The Sunday Mail
June 18, 2006
Matt Byrne
Christine Andreas is a class act. You will not see a greater female talent at this festival, or on any other world stage. Her stunning tribute to great music and Broadway's leading ladies was breathtaking in it's quality, precision, power passion and intimacy.

Andreas seduces her audience with an honesty, integrity, self-deprecating wit and scent of sexuality that would make anyone gladly fly to the moon with her. She can swing from sensual soprano to killer queen in a heartbeat, from the White House to the Great White Way.

Her heartfelt tributes to her Broadway heroines in Streisand, Andrews and Merman were thrilling, but what would we have given to see her in "The Scarlet Pimpernel"?

Superbly supported and joined by her husband, accompanist and happy guardian, Marty Silvestri, Andreas proves by her unforgettable presence that the cabaret festival has reached the pinnacle of the art form. She has to come back  next year and she will fill the Festival Theatre. I bet she and Mandy Patinkin would sing together very sweetly".

The Austrailian
June 19, 2006
Murray Bramwell

Among the pleasures in recent days is Here's to the Ladies, a bouquet of Broadway favourites presented by US soprano Christine Andreas, accompanied suavely on piano by her husband, the composer Martin Silvestri. Andreas, in excellent voice, opens with a flawless reading of Fly Me to the Moon, and it is all up from there. Songs from the great - Ethel Merman, Gertrude Lawrence, Barbra Streisand, Helen Morgan - are included. But it is the bell-like voice of Julie Andrews, which Andreas's voice resembles, that is most prominent. When she gets to My Fair Lady, the appreciative audience could have listened all night. 
 
 
Town Hall
 

from Variety
September 27, 2004
By Robert L. Daniels
As a sidebar to his popular "Broadway by the Year" series, producer-writer Scott Siegel opened the season with "Broadway Unplugged," an adventurous program of classic theater songs, sung by first-rate Broadway musical performers, with one major departure from tradition -- no mikes! Introducing a trip back to Broadway's golden age, before the advent of electrical enhancement, Siegel recalled a comment by a young Mel Brooks during an unmiked performance by Ethel Merman.  "She's too loud," the fledgling humorist reportedly told his companion in the cheap seats.  

Performing just prior to the close of the show was Christina Andreas, who first auditioned -- sans mike -- on the Town Hall stage at age 12.  When she starred in revivals of "On Your Toes," "Oklahoma!" and the 20th-anni production of "My Fair Lady," there were no body mikes; only floor mikes were used.  Andreas rendered an unforced and subtle performance of the Kurt Weill-Ira Gershwin "My Ship" from "Lady in the Dark," demonstrating that one doesn't have to be a belter to reach the top of the house with a velvety voice. Less is more, a credo Andreas made profoundly clear and sweetly sublime.
 

Sheldon Concert Hall

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September, 2004
By Terry Perkins
At St. Louis's Sheldon Concert Hall, Christine "combined acting talent and vocal skills to seamlessly meld classics from the great American songbook with tunes from country artist Clint Black and singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter."  She "wowed the audience with two sets of exciting vocal pyrotechnics and a large helping of charisma and charm." 
  

Catalina Jazz Club

Los Angeles Times  
May 29, 2004
She's a Broadway baby at home with jazz: Christine Andreas transforms all types of songs in her West Coast nightclub debut
By Don Heckman

One of the first things Christine Andreas said when she walked onstage Thursday at Catalina Bar & Grill was that she had never before appeared in a jazz club. The two-time Tony nominee's usual territory is the Broadway stage, with occasional forays into cabaret.

But her debut West Coast jazz-cabaret performance suggested that this gifted singer needn't be concerned about musical boundaries. She's good enough to do almost anything she chooses.

Andreas sang familiar tunes from the Great American Songbook — "I'm Glad There Is You," "They Say It's Wonderful" and "In a Sentimental Mood" among them.

But she also added such offbeat numbers as Rodgers & Hart's "It's Got to Be Love" and Dave Frishberg's "Listen Here." Each was rendered in Andreas' gorgeous bell-tone soprano and interpreted with the insights of a born
storyteller.

Other selections displayed her unerring ability to find transformative qualities in her material.

Mary Chapin Carpenter's "What If We Went to Italy?" was a sunny, utterly entrancing anthem to serenity. "Alfie" became a poignant musical short story. And the combination of "How Insensitive" and "I'm a Fool to Want You" offered a devastating portrait of the darkened hues of love lost.

Andreas was accompanied in efficient fashion by pianist Bevan Manson and bassist Jeff D'Angelo.

Their jazz-oriented settings, mostly drawn from the arrangements on Andreas' latest album, "The Carlyle Set," stimulated some imaginative vocal paraphrases from the singer, enhanced by the warmly personal tone she
employed on her more intimate ballad interpretations.

Those qualities may not add up to a traditional jazz singer's, but they certainly indicate a vocalist with a distinct natural bent toward the individualized interpretations and the buoyant sense of rhythmic swing associated with the jazz vocal art.

In any case, Andreas' performance made it clear that she has every reason to feel at home in any jazz club she chooses to grace with her mesmerizing musical presence.
 

Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center

The Miami Herald

Feb 1, 2008
Treasure of Broadway shines in cabaret show
By
Christine Dolan

In her cabaret show, Love Is Good: An Evening With Christine Andreas, she sings an eclectic collection of love songs as her husband, composer-arranger Martin Silvestri, accompanies her on the piano.

As is typical of such shows, Love Is Good is staged simply: Silvestri at a black grand piano adorned with a vase of crimson roses, Andreas standing at the piano's curve, her skin glowing alabaster in a spotlight that amplifies the sparkle of her jewelry.

What Andreas does as she sings, however, is anything but simple.

A lyric soprano with a distinctive, gorgeous voice, Andreas illuminates the mood and meaning of each song through her considerable acting skills.

Her opening number, Fly Me to the Moon, becomes an invitation to soar with her to a place where romance and connection are all. She explores the songs of the On Your Toes composer-lyricist team, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, first with a lovely My Heart Stood Still, then conveying all the murderous deadpan humor of To Keep My Love Alive.

There's a gorgeous George Gershwin medley, including the aching Someone To Watch Over Me, Fascinatin' Rhythm, Embraceable You, I've Got a Crush on You and a melancholy But Not for Me. Stephen Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle segues into a regret-filled Send in the Clowns, making you wish someone would cast Andreas in A Little Night Music.

The sound system, by the way, reveals every nuance of her astute way with a lyric.

Her patter between songs, aimed at the audience and her hubby, reveals a smart, centered, down-to-earth woman. Before singing in Italian, she evokes the sights, smells and sun-dappled warmth of a family trip to Italy. When she sings in French, particularly as she delivers a haunting La Vie en Rose, you feel the spirit of Edith Piaf filling the room.

Andreas might have continued piling up Broadway credits, but her life took a different turn. She spent happy, challenging years raising her special-needs son, who is now grown. A real Broadway treasure has reclaimed her place in the spotlight.
 
 

 

Updated 03/25/13
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