Looking 20-something, the vivacious Sutton Foster (soon turning 40) kicked up her heels and more at Carnegie Hall on Friday evening March 13th in her debut with Steven Reineke and the New York Pops.
She’s a folksy kinda gal and began the evening with “I’m Beginning to See the Light” (Ellington/George/Hodges/James), with Sam Shoup on ukulele and arrangement by Michael Rafter, in a down home version before taking on her Tony award winning Reno Sweeney character with “Anything Goes” and “I Get A Kick Out of You” (Cole Porter). Sutton is the real thing – sweet, loveable and a powerhouse of pleasurable listening.
Violet co-star Joshua Henry – whom she said she stalked for months on Facebook – was a guest in a song of hope, written 50 years ago by Sam Cooke, “A Change is Gonna Come,” sung with all the gusto and heart it deserves. Together they rocked the house in a song and dance duet (choreographed by Michelle Elkin – fun tap number) on a roaring “Fit as a Fiddle (and Ready for Love) [Freed/Hoffman/Goodhart] – just one of the evening’s highlights.
Songs played by Maestro Reineke and the Pops included an overture from “Anything Goes,” songs by Jeanine Tesori from “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and a can-you-guess-what-show-this-tune- is-from in a special arrangement by Fred Barton “The History of the TV Overture.” (I got most of them, but not all!). It’s a pleasure to watch Steven Reineke, the exuberant Musical Director, who nearly dances off his platform as he conducts.
Sutton made dress/gown changes coming back for the second act to sing “Down with Love” (Arlen/Harburg) and a stunning, soaring duet rendition of Craig Carnelia’s “Flight” with her friend Megan McGinnis – perfectly synched and blended.
Megan got her star turn with “Neverland” (Styne/Green/Comden), followed by a powerful “Let It Sing” (from Violet – Tesori/Crawley) sung by Joshua Henry.
A surprise ending included a rousing “Gimme, Gimme” (Thoroughly Modern Millie) and a reason to revive Gypsy starring Sutton Foster as Mama Rose, as the audience couldn’t stop cheering and offering standing ovations for Sutton’s “Rose’s Turn.” In fact, someone yelled out “do it again!”
Never to be left out – Sondheim’s “Anyone Can Whistle/Being Alive” concluded an evening that left everyone smiling, wildly applauding and singing a spontaneous Happy Birthday to one of Broadway’s best on her upcoming 40th!
Oh what a night!
See Theater Pizzazz interview with Sutton Foster at: https://www.theaterpizzazz.com/sutton-foster-marches-towards-new-milestones/
Next up at the Pops will be a celebration for Frank Sinatra’s centennial year, “Let’s Be Frank,” with Tony DeSare, Storm Large, Frankie Moreno, Ryan Silverman and surprise guests on Friday April 10th, 8 p.m. www.carnegiehall.org 212 247-7800
Do save the date for the 32nd New York Pops Birthday Gala – Monday May 4th, 7 p.m. honoring Kathleen and Rob Marshall and featuring a star-studded cast including Alan Cumming, Sutton Foster, Bebe Neuwirth, Kelli O’Hara, Donna Murphy and more.
Photo Montage: Magda Katz