Last night was the final installment of this season’s True Colors Cabaret, an extension of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors tour concept that marries the pop music world with Broadway to raise money and awareness for Broadway Impact and the True Colors Fund. In an intimate setting at Feinstein’s at the Loews Regency in NYC, tonight featured Broadway belter Sutton Foster and former NKOTB crooner Joey McIntyre.
Let’s start with the brilliant Ms. Foster. She opens with “Something’s Coming,” from West Side Story, and I’m impressed with how well she can control that big voice of hers in such a small room. Upon the song’s ending, she speculates that something is coming, maybe not today or tomorrow, but change is coming — LGBT equality, and that’s what the night is all about. Atta girl! Then she sang a beautifully nuanced “Up On The Roof” and a hilarious romp about “if you have an air conditioner, you’re the man for me.” So cute, I’m quickly reminded how gifted a comedic actress she is. Perhaps that’s why she’s tapped to take on the funny lady roles on Broadway… from her Tony Award-winning turn as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Inga in Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein to Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical.
My favorite part of the night was her “reaaaallly big belter songbook” bit when her musical director Michael Rafter (also of Thoroughly Modern Millie fame) unveiled five songs for an audience member to pick as her next number. Bless the man who chose “And I’m Telling You (I’m Not Leaving)” from Dreamgirls. Where do I begin? Sutton claims it’s the first time she’s ever performed the song publicly and she’s giddily flustered about performing it. She confesses afterward that she can only sing the song by channeling the great Jennifer Holliday, which she did, facial expressions, grunts, gasps and all. My abs are now ripped and my head still hurts from laughing so hard. She’s the real deal folks, fabulous and hysterical all at once.
Next up was the youngest of the New Kids On The Block, Joey McIntyre. First of all, it was pretty awesome to walk into the lobby of the Loews Hotel before the show to see it crowded with 30s-something women with cameras and NKOTB memorabilia. 1988 all over again. Seriously, my friend Brian and I were the only guys there until about 10 minutes before the show started. Joey looks good. He’s a small guy, but with the right songs, has a really nice voice. Highlights included his opener, “L.O.V.E. (L is for the way you look at me)” and “Louder Than Words” from Jonathan Larson’s off-Broadway hit Tick Tick BOOM in which he starred with Natascia Diaz and Jerry Dixon.