ON THE RECORD -- October 1996
BROADWAY BABY TONIGHT: In the past 15 years Bernadette Peters has established herself as one of the most acclaimed stars of the musical theatre, garnering raves in such shows as Sunday in the Park with George, Song & Dance, Into the Woods and most recently, The Goodbye Girl.
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight, her first solo album in over a decade, has just been released on Angel Records and covers an eclectic range of styles and composers including songs by The Beatles, Lyle Lovett, Stephen Sondheim and others.
About the long wait between solo releases, Peters recently explained that "music went through so many changes right after my last album. Everything went into disco and then young people's music, and then it got to where anything goes, which is great." She had been approached about a few theme albums albums of all twenties songs or forties tunes but "that didn't interest me. It has to come from a vision, a real creative place," says the Tony-winning talent, "otherwise you're trying to fit into a theme rather than who you are."
Peters, who possesses one of the more distinctive voices around, is capable of soft, silky tones as well as a strong and moving Broadway belt. Her style on this recording, though, is more contemplative, giving stirring renditions of Sondheim's "No One Is Alone" and Billy Joel's "He's Got a Way." Peters recently said that "on the album I did learn to sing a bit differently than on Broadway. . .you're singing for the listener rather than onstage where it's visual and vocal it's big." There are, however, upbeat moments as well: a bluesy "Woman Be Wise," which she has already added to her acclaimed night-club act, and Lyle Lovett's "I Make Him Feel Good." Just listen to Peters's delicate, moving version of "Some Other Time," and you'll realize why she's one of the theatre's most engaging performers. SOUND BYTES: John Mauceri conducts the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra on a selection of classic show tunes for the Philips Classics release, The Hollywood Bowl on Broadway. . .Cabaret singer Jennifer Meaney's first solo album, entitled You and I, is now available on the JDH, Inc. label.
-- By Andrew Gans