by: Paulanne Simmons
On February 2, Alice Ripley told all those people who were “shunning the Super Bowl” and had chosen instead to see her at 54 Below that her show, Ripley Reflects, would be an evening of “unexpected standards.” And for the most part, that is exactly what the evening, most delightfully, turned out to be.
Ripley performed numbers from the shows she is most closely associated with, The Rocky Horror Show, The Who’s Tommy and of course, Next to Normal. But even here, she made some unusual choices, for example choosing to sing “I’ve Been,” one of Dan’s songs in Next to Normal.
Ripley also sang “On My Own,” a personal favorite, and “A Song for You,” which she came to know through the Carpenters, a group that had a strong influence on her while she was growing up. Best of all, she sang three of her own songs, inspired by her relationship with her father, which gave the audience a glimpse into her life.
Many of the songs Ripley chose are quite challenging. Given the reflective mood of the show, it’s not surprising that there were a good number of power ballads. Fortunately, Ripley’s voice is in top form, with power and range to spare.
Alice Ripley has developed a reputation as an a performer who does not shy away from unusual roles. If at this stage in her career, she would like audiences to “get to know me as well as the crazy character I play,” Ripley Reflects was certainly a huge step in this direction.
She was accompanied by Jess Means on piano.