Sutton Foster in ‘Bring Me to the Light.’ (Photo: Christopher Duggan)
By Matthew Wexler
Under normal circumstances, New York City’s theater district would be overflowing with audiences clamoring to see the latest shows and old favorites. While we’ve heard good news from officials and producers regarding reopenings, the curtain hasn’t risen yet. Fortunately, Broadway favorite Sutton Foster offers a glimmer of hope in a streamed concert to benefit City Center.
It’s your last chance to see Foster, along with special guests (and fellow City Center alums) Raúl Esparza, Joaquina Kalukango, Kelli O’Hara, and Wren Rivera, one of Foster’s students at Ball University.
Foster’s career has blossomed since she made her Broadway debut as a replacement in the original company of Les Misérables. Able to pivot between ingenue and spitfire, featured dancer or high belter, Foster is both a chameleon and immediately recognizable. With two Tony Awards on her shelf (Best Actress in a Musical for 2002’s Thoroughly Modern Millie and the 2011 revival of Anything Goes), Foster will return to the stage in a revival of The Music Man, co-starring Hugh Jackman.
A familial affair, Leigh Silverman, who directed Foster in Violet, helmed Bring Me to the Light. The production gathered other former colleagues, including Jeanine Tesori as creative producer as long-time musical collaborator Michael Rafter as musical director and arranger.
With pandemic developments changing by the day, Bring Me to the Light feels at times whistful and melancholy with theater’s return floating in the abyss. Already, the light shines brighter as audiences anticipate the return of Hadestown, Chicago, and a handful of other shows (all of which can be followed on the Show Tracker app). Despite an industry blow-up with one of the show’s lead producers, Scott Rudin, The Music Man has managed to salvage its presence and begins previews on December 20 with an anticipated February 10, 2022, opening.
Foster smoothly delivers the streaming concert, gratefully produced with simple but effective attention to detail, on-site at City Center’s historic 55th Street location. Rafter medley arrangements offer musical theater nuggets of gold, while full songs such as “Hey, Look Me Over,” “Answer Me,” and “Impossible Dream” remind us why Foster is still a triple-threat performer. Culminating in a five-part arrangement of Tesori and Brian Crawley’s “Bring Me to the Light,” the hour-long concert reminds us of what we’ve missed, but more importantly, what we have to look forward to when the curtain rises, once again.
Sutton Foster: Bring Me to the Light
Streaming through May 31