Tuesday, April 5, 2011

CABARET review - Stephanie Burkett Gerson

On Sunday, April 10 to celebrate her new CD Once Upon a Time, Stephanie Burkett Gerson performed a CD release party concert @ Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's to an exceedingly enthusiastic packed house. No stranger to musical theatre in LA or anywhere for that matter, as she has sailed across Europe for Disney, tall and lovely Gerson has a beautiful voice and quite a vocal range. The show, with a focus on her life and career, utilized a video screen projecting photos and playbill covers of shows that Gerson has played in and which remain her favorites. There was also a cute video clip of her first performance singing to her dad at age 6.

Highlights of the evening included: Andrew Lippa's rousing "Life of the Party", Little Women's "Astonishing" - Gerson sets very high standards, Dolly Parton's dramatic "Get Out and Stay Out" from 9 to 5, Irving Berlin's wonderfully joyous "I Love a Piano" and the "Joseph Prelude" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a show in which she has performed four times. Proving her strength as a character actress, Gerson essayed Carla's sexy "Call to the Vatican" from Nine, self-described out-of-the-box for her, but delightfully playful and engaging. There were also some lovely ballads like Scott Alan's "Always", sung to her husband of five years Zane Gerson, a fun "Taylor the Latte Boy", substituting Zane for Taylor, William Finn's gorgeous "Anytime" from his Elegies and "Change in Me" from Beauty and the Beast the first Broadway show she ever saw with her grandmother at age13. Zane, friend Cassandra Murphy, and musical director Allen Everman joined her triumphantly with vocals on "Eyes Quartet" combining two songs from Jekyll & Hyde and The Secret Garden. And with a small chorus of backup singers Gerson ended with the title song "Once Upon a Time" from her album of the same name. Kudos to musicians Everman at the piano and other members of the band: David Lamoureux on drums, Jordan Lamoureux on bass and Jeff Jansen on electric guitar, who did so well accompanying Gerson on the low key encore of "Change in Me".

This was an excellent cabaret debut for Gerson who has such great potential for leading roles on Broadway. Watch for her soon, perhaps in New York with the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, in which she played Mrs Santa Claus on tour this past year. She's a very pretty gal and gifted performer!

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