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The Seth Concert Series – Beth Malone – Review

Beth Malone
Beth Malone

There came a moment in Seth Rudetsky’s continued line of questioning about Beth Malone being a lesbian and what it meant to ‘come out’ and how difficult that must have been that I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth this part-concert, part-conversation was getting so personal. But all became clear by the end of the show, and Malone was quite content to talk about such matters at length, and has been in the fortunate position of being able to channel her experiences into some of her theatre roles, most notably in the Broadway production of Fun Home, noted for being the first Broadway musical with a lesbian character as the lead protagonist.

After a rendering of ‘On My Own’ from Les Misérables, it was apparent that she was able to still sound as young as Eponine, although she is now in her early fifties. She doesn’t always sound like that, however, with an ability to sound older in, for instance, ‘An Old-Fashioned Love Story’ from the Andrew Lippa musical The Wild Party, or in ‘The Life of the Party’ from the same show, in which her vocals were really rather sassy. Most of the songs in the concert were taken from musical theatre, with perhaps a couple from other genres, and perhaps understandably Fun Home featured more frequently than any other show.

Married to Rochelle Schoppert, who she always refers as Shelley, they were ‘civil unioned’ and ‘domestic partnered’ first before finally marrying in 2015. In her youth, she had boyfriends, and even found herself engaged to a man at the age of twenty-two. It was only when she went on tour with another female performer that, having fallen in love with her, she had a lightbulb moment.

As ever, concerts of this nature provide an opportunity to perform musical numbers in a different way to the manner in which they are usually presented in a theatrical production. Here, there was a lovely mashup of ‘Unruly Heart’ from The Prom (a show that has yet to come across to this side of the Atlantic) and ‘You Will Be Found’ from Dear Evan Hansen.

Like many an actor, she had thought about quitting the profession and doing something else when the work dried up. Fortunately, she received some sound advice to (amongst other things) consider doing “something that scares you”, and so she wrote and performed her own show, called Beth Malone: So Far. Performed without an interval (just as this concert was), it’s about her upbringing and what it meant to be a lesbian in rural America. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.

She is, she says, old enough to remember rotary telephones and how long they took to dial numbers by modern standards: it can’t have been that long ago since they were still commonplace, though it is also true that there is now a generation of people who wouldn’t know what to do with a rotary phone if it was connected to a phone line and placed in front of them. (Seriously, there are videos of YouTube to this effect.) The use of humour in Malone’s storytelling made this online experience all the more enjoyable – a lively and spirited 100 minutes.

5 Star Rating

Review by Chris Omaweng

Beth Malone originated the leading role of Alison in the 2015 Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home, which earned her a Tony nomination. She was most recently seen in the title role of the 2020 revival of The Unsinkable Molly Brown off-Broadway at The Transport Group, directed by Kathleen Marshall. For her performance as Molly Brown in that revitalized version of the Meredith Wilson classic musical, Beth was a 2020 Outer Critics Circle Award Honoree for Outstanding Actress in a Musical as well as a Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Award nominee. Prior to that, she was seen as the Angel in the Tony Award-Winning Broadway revival of Angels in America. She originated the role of June Carter Cash in Ring of Fire on Broadway, as well as the roles of Betty Jean in The Marvelous Wonderettes and Alison in Bingo off-Broadway. Other Off-Broadway and Regional credits include Fun Home (The Public Theater), The Unsinkable Molly Brown (MUNY St. Louis, Denver Center), Sister Act (Alliance Theatre), Annie Get Your Gun (CMT). On film, Malone can be seen in Taylor Hackford’s The Comedian, co-starring opposite Robert DeNiro and Edie Falco. Other film credits include Hick with Eddie Redmayne, Twist of Faith, The Interview, and the upcoming Brittany Runs A Marathon opposite Jillian Bell. Beth appeared as the recurring character of Claudia Monarch (a surrogate Rachel Maddow) on CBS’ Braindead. Other television credits include Bull, The Good Wife, Reno 911, Judging Amy, Laying Low, What’s On?, One Minute Soaps and the Fox pilot Second Nature. She is the author and star of the critically acclaimed one-woman show Beth Malone: So Far.

LISTING:
Mark Cortale Presents
THE SETH CONCERT SERIES

LACHANZE with SETH RUDETSKY
Sunday, October 25th at 8PM EST
Monday, October 26th at 3PM EST

BETH MALONE with SETH RUDETSKY
Sunday, November 1st at 8PM EST
Monday, November 2nd at 3PM EST

WAYNE BRADY with SETH RUDETSKY
Sunday, November 8th at 8PM EST
Monday, November 9th at 3PM EST

LILLIAS WHITE with SETH RUDETSKY
Sunday, November 15th at 8PM EST
Monday, November 16th at 3PM EST

ADAM PASCAL with SETH RUDETSKY
Sunday, November 22nd at 8PM EST
Monday, November 23rd at 3PM EST

PATTI MURIN & COLIN DONNELL with SETH RUDETSKY
Sunday, November 29th at 8PM EST
Monday, November 30th at 3PM EST
All tickets available at thesethconcertseries.com

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