Entertainment » Music

Night After the Tonys with Linda Eder

by Les Spindle
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Jun 11, 2014
Linda Eder rocked the Ford Theatre
Linda Eder rocked the Ford Theatre  (Source:fordtheatres.org)

Still riding a roaring crest of fame 23 years after she launched her career, charismatic actress-singer Linda Eder was the star attraction at "Night After the Tonys with Linda Eder," a rousing and blissfully melodic evening of Broadway, pop, and other diverse styles on June 9 at Hollywood's John Anson Ford Amphitheatre.

Produced by Chris Isaacson and his venerable Upright Cabaret company, the evening also included a smashing opening set by the classy male quartet The Company Men, followed by a dynamic song set by talented Constantine Maroulis, best known for his Tony-nominated performance in "Rock of Ages," his starring role in "Jekyll and Hyde" and his sixth-place-finalist gig on "American Idol."

The evening's pièce de résistance -- Eder's smashing concert of widely varied songs, mixed with charming patter -- didn't occur until after intermission. The celebrated diva, who was Drama Desk-nominated for her 1997 Broadway debut as the tragic heroine Lucy in "Jekyll and Hyde, "boasts a number of hit recordings and is continually busy in concert appearances including such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and Radio City Music Hall. She was formerly married to Broadway songwriter Frank Wildhorn, whose credits include "Jekyll and Hyde," "Victor/Victoria," and "The Scarlett Pimpernel."

Also a TV talent show winner (on "Star Search" in 1988), Eder got right down to business with an enchanting rendition of "The Theme from Ice Castles -- Through the Eyes of Love" (her "Star Search" performance). From there, she progressed to a highly eclectic range of numbers. Her "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina," from "Evita" justifiably elicited thunderous applause, as did the soaring "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables."

A change of pace was the Rodgers and Hammerstein showstopper, "Climb Every Mountain" from "The Sound of Music," which lent a touch of operatic splendor to the array of musical styles she performed. Also a master of country-western style, she offered a terrific rendition of Jessi Colter's "I'm Not Lisa."

We got old-style nostalgia with Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies" and "Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's "Stormy Weather." She brought Maroulis onstage for a thrilling duet to "Dangerous Game," from "Jekyll and Hyde." From the same vehicle, she achieved one of her most jubilantly received numbers of the evening with the solo triumph, "Someone Like You."

In a nod to gender-blind crooning, she belted a bravura rendition of the title song from "Man of La Mancha" before ending the evening with a lovely encore number, "Over the Rainbow."

She also gave us a touch of Henry Mancini with a lovely "Charade." Eder did a smashing duet with her guitarist, Peter Calo, to ABBA's fabulous "Fernando." In a nod to gender-blind crooning, she belted a bravura rendition of the title song from "Man of La Mancha" before ending the evening with a lovely encore number, "Over the Rainbow."

Salutes are due to Eder's fabulous musical collaborators: William Stein (musical director/pianist), David Finck (bass), Callo (guitars/vocals), and Jerry Marotta (drums/vocals).

In the first act, The Company Men (Daniel Tatar, Shawn Perucca, Stuart Ambrose, and Brian Purcell), billed as America's first mashup group, opened the show with five appealing "mashup" segments, singing overlapping numbers in a Temptations/Four Tops vein, such as "Get Ready/Fireworks" and "Money/Forget You." They are accomplished performers, and told us they had toiled in 9-to-5 jobs until a few years back when they joined forces to create this truly captivating group, which is rooted in a cherished tradition. Tatar will be familiar to local musical theater fans for his acclaimed lead performances in such musicals as "Life Could Be A Dream," "The Last Five Years" and "Kiss of the Spider Woman."

Maroulis' fine song set, which followed The Company Men, leaned toward power numbers such as "Heaven On Their Minds" from "Jesus Christ Superstar." He also offered bravura deliveries from "Jekyll and Hyde," namely "I Need to Know," and perhaps the show's best known ballad, "This is the Moment." He represented his other well-known work with "Waiting For a Girl Like You" from "Rock of Ages."

He delivered a soulful "Pity the Child" from "Chess." To wrap up his segment, he gave us a fine rendition of his "American Idol" number, "Bohemian Rhapsody," a Queens song, perhaps whetting appetites locally for the Ahmanson's July opening of "We Will Rock You."

Venerable Isaacson once again delivered the goods with this exhilarating and memorable cap-off to Tony Award week. Bravo!

"Night After the Tonys with Linda Eder," was performed June 9 at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. For information on future shows at the Amphitheatre, call 323-461-3673 or visit www.fordtheatres.org.

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