Home » London Theatre Reviews » Liz Callaway LIVE In Concert with Seth Rudetsky | Review

Liz Callaway LIVE In Concert with Seth Rudetsky | Review

Liz Callaway
Liz Callaway

It is, perhaps, a well-worn cliché that an enjoyable concert was over all too quickly, but this really was 105 minutes without interval that felt more like twenty-five. Liz Callaway’s career to date has been varied to say the least – including a production of Merrily We Roll Along that had more previews than post-press night performances, and the original Broadway production of Miss Saigon, a production that closed almost a decade later after more than 4,000 performances.

Callaway has known host and musical director Seth Rudetsky for some years now – the camaraderie was very much evident. Her recollection of various stories is nothing short of brilliant, and the vivid details, even decades later, are quite extraordinary, including who said what to whom, and what the responses were. Anyone considering a career in the entertainment industry would do well to listen to these tales about waitressing and performing in a ‘club act’ (what today would be known as a ‘cabaret act’) in between different productions.

There were indications, too, of how demanding the theatre world can be. Brownstone, an off-Broadway show that Callaway was in back in 1986, was not, apparently, well-received, to the point where its composer, Peter Larson, and lyricist, Josh Rubins, stopped writing altogether and went on to completely different vocations. A few years later, Callaway was heavily pregnant with her son Nicholas when Miss Saigon went into rehearsals, and her husband Dan Foster would be in her dressing room once performances started helping with childcare. But she looks back on it all with smiles and laughter, and it’s clear that she thinks it’s all worth it for the lifelong friends she has made in New York City through various shows.

The song and conversation format of the concert lends itself both to discovering things audience members like your reviewer hadn’t known about before, such as Callaway’s children’s television show, called ‘Ready to Go’, in the late Eighties. A song from Brownstone, ‘Since You Stayed Here’, was very poignant, and has, I later discovered, been covered by (amongst others) Dionne Warwick, Bette Midler and Michael Crawford.

It is, of course, the 20th Century Fox 1997 animated motion picture Anastasia that Callaway’s voice is known to many for, and so it was little surprise that ‘Once Upon A December’ and ‘Journey To The Past’ were included in this concert. My own favourite number, though, was ‘Another Hundred Lyrics’, a parody written by Lauren Mayer, of ‘Another Hundred People’ from Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company. “Did you find my measure, ‘cause I looked in vain? / And another modulation to increase the pain! / I could learn it by tomorrow, but I’ll probably be insane / And another hundred lyrics just flew out of my brain!” It’s a hoot.

Her powerhouse voice is very well controlled, through what she refers to as ‘mixing’ – there’s some belting going on but, as Rudetsky put it, the ‘guttural effect’ isn’t there, making her voice sound very pleasant and beautiful. ‘Beautiful City’ from Godspell and the title song from Tell Me On A Sunday were also included in a delightful and highly enjoyable evening.

5 Star Rating

Review by Chris Omaweng

Tony nominee and Emmy winner Liz Callaway made her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. She has gone on to star in Baby, Miss Saigon, The Look of Love, The Three Musketeers, and for 5 years appeared as Grizabella in Cats. Off-Broadway appearances include The Spitfire Grill (Drama Desk nomination), Marry Me a Little and Brownstone. She starred in the one-person play “Every Brilliant Thing” at TheatreSquared and the European premiere of “Sondheim on Sondheim” at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

The concert is available ‘on demand’ until 25 August 2020

Liz has six solo recordings including her newest album, The Essential Liz Callaway.



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