Words of wisdom from Mark Waldrop

June 11, 2011

Mark Waldrop who directed Sutton Foster’s cabaret act had this passage in the CD’s album notes — words many, many performers need to take to heart:

“Pulling off a really great club act is one of the toughest feats in show business — even for a Broadway star like Sutton.  It takes so much more than assembling a list of songs and knocking them out of the part (which pretty much defines a really bad club act).  For the entertainers who elevate this intimate art form, the song list becomes a vehicle for delivering a distillation of their own unique personalities.  A friend of mine once said that the tricky thing about doing cabaret is that you have to be yourself on purpose.  This seemingly simple requirement has tripped up a surprising number of otherwise brilliant performers.  There’s no character to hide behind.  It’s just you up there.  To thrive in this setting, you have to be comfortable in your own skin.”

CD Review — An Evening With Sutton Foster

June 8, 2011

An Evening With Sutton Foster - Live At The Cafe CarlyleThis is probably the favorite CD that I got during my hiatus.  It is a document of the cabaret show that the Broadway “It Girl” performed at the Cafe Carlyle (and I suspect at the Kennedy Center.)

It really has all the elements a great cabaret show should have:  interesting selection of music with great arrangements by Michael Rafter all backed by an open and enganging performer.  One of the best things about this CD is that although Foster is one of today’s premier Broadway belters, she knows how effective it is just to be relaxed and not push the vocals and really tell a story.  Plus, there are moments of shear, wacky bliss.

Stephen Holden on Sutton Foster

June 17, 2010

The NYTimes reviews Broadway’s “it girl“: The radiance of Julia Roberts and the zany spunk of Holly Golightly: that only begins to describe the seductive charms of Sutton Foster in her irresistible cabaret show, “An Evening With Sutton Foster,” at the Café Carlyle. Directed by Mark Waldrop, it might be described as a successful Moon shot in which it discovered that the orb is really made of green cheese; that’s one small step for cosmic dairy products.”

Note — Foster’s show is scheduled as part of next year’s Barbara Cook’s Spotlight series at the Kennedy Center.

Jill’s Jottings: “Wish”ing on a Star Named Sutton

March 3, 2009


Jill Leger kindly shares her thoughts on Sutton Foster’s new CD:

Since her Broadway breakthrough in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” I’ve believed that Sutton Foster can do nothing wrong musically. Her debut CD, “Wish,” leaves this sensibility intact with its lovely, wistful musings on love and longing. That it perhaps feels a bit too eclectic at times, mixing intimacy and brass, girlishness with womanhood, Broadway with country, and ukulele strains with lush orchestral accompaniment may be just a minor quibble. There’s a lot going on here, but the common denominator appears to be Foster’s big heart. And heart can make for a satisfying listening experience.

Cabaret gems include a lovely pairing of “My Romance” and Maury Yeston’s “Danglin’,” Jeff Blumenkrantz’s pitch-perfect “My Heart Was Set On You,” Murray Berlin and Roy Alfred’s “The Late, Late Show,” and Noel Coward’s poignant “Come the Wild, Wild Weather.” And there are lots of surprises: a belting flourish to “I’m Beginning To See The Light,” an exuberant (and joke-y) “Oklahoma,” and an incredibly sweet interpretation of “Up On The Roof,” a song I’ve heard a hundred times without ever considering, let alone feeling, its full meaning. And I’m here to say that Sutton Foster belting “On My Way, from the little-known musical “Violet” is absolutely fantastic. I’ve been making do for months with an unfortunately edited snippet of it on YouTube (she sang it at Joe’s Pub in NYC last year) and was delighted finally to hear the whole thing, which did not disappoint.

Only a few cuts didn’t speak to me. Foster’s “Sunshine On My Shoulder” is the most beautiful rendition I’ve ever heard of that song, but I’ve never liked that song much to begin with. And it seems to me as if Foster is too young to sing”Once Upon A Time”; her rendition lacked the pathos an older singer might have lent it.

Ever since Foster won her Tony in 2002, fans like me have anxiously awaited her solo debut album. Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait as long for CD number two.

Stephen Holden on Sutton Foster

February 21, 2009

The NYTimes on today’s top theatrical leading lady: “A barefoot country girl cradling a puppy and gazing blissfully into the blue sky, a sleeping princess in a moonlit bower who dreams of being kissed awake by Prince Charming: the corniest storybook mythology attaches itself to Sutton Foster as magically as dew appears on a spring flower and revives for a moment your silliest childhood fantasies of eternal innocence and happily ever after.”

Review: Betty Buckley at Town Hall

October 27, 2007

The current Playbill Online Diva Talk column has a great review of Bety Buckley’s Town Hall concert:  “At a time in her career when many would simply offer rote interpretations of their signature tunes, Buckley manages to find new meaning in her best-known songs, and she performs them with an emotional fragility that is entrancing.”

 There’s also a great interview with Sutton Foster.