Melissa Errico, star of stage and screen, brought her fantastic cabaret act Melissa Errico: A Passion for Broadway to the Barns at Wolf Trap Saturday night, November 9, 2013 to the delight of the entire audience.
Melissa Errico is a Tony-nominated Broadway actress who has starred in multiple Broadway shows and recorded on various albums, including a collaboration with Oscar-winning composer Michel Legrand in 2011 titled Legrand Affair. She has also appeared in films (including the 2002 film Life or Something Like It) and television. Yet it is musical theatre and Broadway that Errico is passionate about, hence the title of her cabaret show: A Passion for Broadway.
Errico opened with a beautiful rendition of “Somewhere” from West Side Story, and then entertained the audience with a cute anecdote about being discovered in a hallway and being asked to play the role of Cosette in Les Miserables, before singing an emotional “I Dreamed a Dream.” Errico continued to trace her career throughout the night, singing songs from her shows like My Fair Lady, Dracula, Finian’s Rainbow, Amour, and Passion. Errico was in fine voice—her lustrous soprano going from the anger and passion of “Show Me” from My Fair Lady to the sweet simplicity of “How are Things in Glocca Morra” from Finian’s Rainbow without any loss of power or emotion. She also included various songs by composers she’d worked with, including a powerful “Meadowlark” by Stephen Schwartz and a jazzy, seductive “His Eyes, Her Eyes” by Michel Legrand.
Not all the songs though were from shows Errico starred in or composers she worked with. Besides simply a passion for Broadway, Errico clearly has a passion for Stephen Sondheim, singing songs from Gypsy, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, Anyone Can Whistle, Company, and A Little Night Music. Her song choices were interesting and varied, ranging from the predictable standards sung by every Broadway singer (including a fun jazz arrangement of “Not While I’m Around” from Sweeney Todd) to slightly lesser-heard Sondheim songs, including a plaintive “No More” from Into the Woods and a sincere “Small World” from Gypsy. Her rendition of “(Not) Getting Married Today” from Company was hilarious and had the audience in stitches, with Errico singing both parts and tossing a wedding veil on and off as she played the desperate bride trying to get out of the wedding.
Yet Errico’s skill as a singer and as an actress was most clearly evident in her rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns.” The simple piano arrangement was a beautiful backdrop for Errico’s hauntingly mournful soprano, the emotion of the song apparent through her voice. It was simple and clear and authentic, and for me, the highlight of the night.
While Errico’s passion for Broadway was evident, it was clear that the audience had a passion for Melissa Errico, rising to their feet to give her a well-deserved standing ovation.
Running Time: Ninety minutes, with no intermission.
Melissa Errico’s website.