By Sandi Durell
The star of television’s Smash (as Ivy Lynn) is a delight to watch and listen to returning to the Café Carlyle for the fourth time – and this time, not pregnant! She’s one of the most real people in the biz sharing her career highlights in song and story, along with her hubby Brian Gallagher on guitar, Matt Cusson, her musical director on piano, Jack Deboe on percussion and Dennis Keefe on bass, while their two young kids aged 1 and 3 were upstairs.
The opening “Gotta Have Me Go With You” (Judy Garland, Ray Heindorf, Jack Harmon, Don McKabe), with everyone singing, swinging and harmonizing, was like a throwback to the 40s sound of The Modernaires!
Regaling her audience with the ups and downs of making her way into the business, showed the strength and fortitude it takes, even for this Carnegie Mellon grad who thought she was going to be an opera singer. It was actually Craig Burns, casting director (in the audience) who helped launch Megan. And so the evening followed her career path and the songs that resonate for her. She did wind up in Wicked both on Broadway and on tour – 4 years total. Her rendition of “Popular” (in cutsey – mouse-like vocals) was nothing less than fabulous. She also starred in 9 to 5 and only had nice things to report on Dolly Parton.
Megan paid homage to Smash (Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman) with “They Just Keep Moving the Line,” “Don’t Forget Me/Let Me Be Your Star,” “Let’s Be Bad” – to grand audience reaction. Her real penchant, however, is for the music of Sweeney Todd, the powerfully emotional medley including “Not While I’m Around” and “Johanna.” She excitedly shared her one time meeting with Stephen Sondheim gushing her love for Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd to which he replied: “you must be obsessed with death.”
If anyone in the packed house didn’t actually believe the range of her voice and its operatic beauty, Hilty easily quashed that by singing “I Could Have Danced All Night”(Lerner & Loewe) and hitting a high C final note. Knocked it out of the ballpark!
Megan Hilty is blessed with a gorgeous flowing vocal instrument that takes her audiences on a journey with every song she sings. That sweet little purr is very endearing as is her off-the-cuff chatter/patter and great charm.
Photos: David Andrako
Megan Hilty will be purring at Café Carlyle, 35 East 76 Street (Madison Ave.) thru April 28.
You’ll be glad you took the time to be there. www.thecarlyle.com