Every Monday night in New York when most shows are dark, the best performers on Broadway take to the microphone at cabarets and benefits around the city. Beyond being a great way to get over the back-to-work blues for us poor 9-to-5 slobs, these concerts provide an amazing opportunity to discover fresh talent as well as see familiar stars in a new light.
Last night, I was lucky enough to catch Broadway Sings Tori: A Benefit for RAINN, a rock-solid evening featuring the music of Alt-goddess and flame-haired piano-humper Tori Amos. One of the biggest surprises of the show, hosted with wit and ease by Ben Cameron and Colleen Harris, was how well Tori’s compositions translated to theatrical voices. I’m actually a fan of her work but her notoriously idiosyncratic range and densely layered lyrics would seem ill-suited to anyone other than Amos herself . However, the actors’ crisp diction and storytelling acuity revealed emotional one-act plays within much of Tori’s impressive catalog. Consider me hereby completely converted and excited for her National Theater-bound musical, The Light Princess.
Even more exciting was the talent on display. You can always count on Tony-nominees Christine Andreas (The Scarlett Pimpernel) and Stephanie D’Abruzzo (Avenue Q); the former delivering a haunting, crystaline “Over the Rainbow” (as a nod to Tori’s famous cover version) and the latter socking-home a left-field bit of Tori juvenilia, the perky “Baltimore”. In addition, I was floored by three new (to me) performers that grabbed hold of some Amos classics and made them their own: