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The Seth Concert Series Featuring Melissa Errico – Review

Melissa Errico
Melissa Errico

The encyclopaedic knowledge of Seth Rudetsky when it comes to musical theatre on Broadway is once again evident in this instalment of The Seth Concert Series, this time featuring Melissa Errico, the Broadway singer and actor, who has also had a number of articles published in the New York Times. I wasn’t aware of very much of Errico’s career prior to the concert, and the style and format of the show was as warm and inviting for people in the (online) audience like me as well as for the hardcore fans. She has, of course, been to London several times, most recently for the Michel Legrand memorial concert in September 2019 at the Southbank Centre.

It’s the little details that come out in the conversations between songs that makes events like this endearing – Errico has her own website and a Wikipedia entry, but neither of those will tell readers, for instance, that she hasn’t yet figured out how the air conditioning works at home, much to Rudetsky’s amazement, summer temperatures in New York City being what they are.

Nor do they mention the various on-stage mishaps – one about a wardrobe malfunction in a (short-lived) production of a musical called Anna Karenina, based on the famed Leo Tolstoy novel, had me, if you will pardon the pun, in stitches. But one does one’s best in trying circumstances, and Errico’s manner of dealing with the situation impressed the producers of a production of My Fair Lady enough to cast her in their show. For an American to play Eliza Doolittle effectively requires that person to put on an accent of a character themselves putting on an accent – and Errico’s rendering of ‘Wouldn’t It Be Loverly’ is spot on here. No wonder that number is swiftly followed by ‘My Favourite Things’ from The Sound of Music.

Spare a thought, though, for Errico’s good friend and fellow Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth, who couldn’t even sit and enjoy proceedings without being FaceTimed by Rudetsky, the equivalent of being hauled up on stage. (And fair play to her for hitting the high note.) Errico’s roles over the years have certainly been very varied, and the selection of songs in this concert was even broader, with probably as many songs outside the world of musical theatre as within. ‘When She Loved Me’ from the motion picture Toy Story 2 is a favourite amongst quite a few theatre actors (as well as many people in other professions), and Errico’s version is heartfelt and poignant.

It’s always good to have a mixture of familiar standards alongside lesser-known songs. Alec Wilder’s ‘Blackberry Winter’ isn’t exactly a song I hear every day, whilst the closing numbers were instantly recognisable – ‘Everybody Loves Louis’ from Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George, ‘Losing My Mind’ from Sondheim’s Follies and ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ from The Wizard of Oz. Whilst the wait goes on (and on and on) for live theatre to resume, this is pretty much as good as it gets for a live performance.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

“The Maria Callas of American musical theater,” as Opera News has called her, referencing both her crystalline voice and dramatic, expressive intensity, Melissa Errico is a Tony Award-nominated actress, singer and author who contributes regularly to The New York Times. First known for her starring roles on Broadway, including “My Fair Lady,” “High Society” and “Les Miserables,” her recent album, Sondheim Sublime, was called by The Wall Street Journal “The best all-Sondheim album ever recorded.” Errico’s history with Sondheim began when he selected her to star as Dot in “Sunday In The Park With George” at The Kennedy Center, and she has since co-starred as Clara in “Passion” at Classic Stage Company and in the NY City Center Encores! production of the Sondheim/Rodgers musical “Do I Hear A Waltz?”

She has also been keeping busy through these difficult months by offering multiple live-streams and conversations, teaching master classes for students across the country and producing a delicious at-home cooking show “The Honest Cook” on Instagram, which she chronicled in an essay for Variety magazine.

Lea Salonga has an innate ability to perform in such a way that makes it seemingly effortless, with an excellent range.
The Seth Concert Series Featuring Lea Salonga

MELISSA ERRICO with SETH RUDETSKY
Sunday, July 5th at 8PM EST
Monday, July 6th at 3PM EST

AUDRA MCDONALD with SETH RUDETSKY
Sunday, July 12th at 8PM EST
Monday, July 13th at 3PM EST

All tickets available at www.thesethconcertseries.com

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