News, views and reviews about the multi-talented women of the musical theatre and the concert/cabaret stage.
Everything's coming up roses for the gifted singing actress Leslie Kritzer, who will be featured in Lincoln Center’s acclaimed American Songbook series Feb. 3 in the Allen Room of Jazz at Lincoln Center. The Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominee will offer Hello, Gorgeous! Leslie Kritzer Sings Jule Styne, which will give the talented artist the chance to belt out songs by the late, great Styne, composer of Gypsy, Funny Girl and other iconic shows.
Kritzer, who was most recently on Broadway in Roundabout Theatre Company's Sondheim on Sondheim revue,said she was thrilled to see her Tony-winning co-star, Barbara Cook, feted at the recent Kennedy Center Honors. "I was so happy and proud of her, and I called her at home," Kritzer told me earlier this week. "She's still on cloud nine from the whole experience. I was like, 'Oh my God! You're right there with Meryl [Streep],' and she's like, 'I know!'... She loved the film [tribute], too. She's been through hell and back. She said it really showed she wasn't your typical ingénue and she had gone through a lot, and they showed that and how she prevailed."
Kritzer, whose Broadway resume also boasts Hairspray, Legally Blonde and A Catered Affair, says working with the original Music Man star was "awesome. She's so funny and open and a team player. She was just amazing to be around and to learn from and to watch every night....She was very open about the down times [in her life]. It's a really good lesson because when you think Barbara Cook, you think every second must have been amazing, and it wasn't. She's gone through her really dark periods. It was amazing for her to share things like that with me. I really appreciated that ...She's definitely a tough broad and really funny. I just admire her, and it was just an honor to work with her and be able to call her and say, 'Congratulations!'"
Leslie Kritzer and Autumn Hurlbert in every tongue confess.
photo by Joan Marcus
Although Kritzer wasn't on Broadway this past season, the comedic actress has been busy appearing in numerous regional productions, including the Arena Stage world premiere of Marcus Gardley's every tongue confess opposite Tony winner Phylicia Rashad; the "comic tragedy" musical The Memory Show, which received its world premiere at the Barrington Stage Company; and director John Rando's well-reviewed Guys and Dolls, also at the Barrington. About this recent spate of work, Kritzer says, "Well, working with Phylicia Rashad and doing a play with her was incredible. It was an amazing experience, and working with Kenny Leon was wonderful. But, I think, for me, Guys and Dolls was probably my favorite — not just because it's a musical — but I love working with John Rando.... He is one of my favorite directors ever. We always do things together that are fun and take a different spin on things, and our cast — Matt Risch and Morgan James and Michael Thomas Holmes and the entire company — we created such a great show and with no expectations. That was the best part. There were no expectations. We were doing a show up at Barrington Stage, and we didn't know that Terry Teachout was going to write that incredible review in the Wall Street Journal… And, we do it because we love it and we love working together, and I'm not saying that every time it works out that way, but when it does work out that way, where every day is a pleasure and you love working on a show and you love the people you work with, sometimes you get that amazing cherry on the top, which is amazing reviews and a great time. And, Frank Loesser—how can you go wrong?... It was an amazing experience, and honestly just what I needed that summer. It was great playing a blonde. I love playing blondes."