PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Justin Sayre and More Pick Favorite Bernadette Peters Performances
By Michael Gioia
Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Carole J. Bufford and Gabrielle Stravelli are among the artists who will celebrate Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters at the Feb. 16 installment of The Meeting*, hosted by Justin Sayre. In anticipation of the concert, the cast pick their favorite performances by Peters as part of Playbill.com's Playbill Playlist.
The 9:30 PM show at Joe's Pub will feature music direction by Tracy Stark. Performers also include Connor Donahue and Carlo Maria.
According to press notes, "Each month, the I.O.S gathers to honor an artist or a cultural work that is iconic to the gay community. Justin Sayre, the show's creator, writer and host, serves as the Chairman of the Board of the International Order of Sodomites and brings his singular wit to essential business of the day through such regular features such as 'Letters to the Chairman' and 'New Rulings from the Board.'"
In celebration of Tony Award winner Peters, Herdlicka, Bufford, Stravelli and Sayre pick their favorite Peters performances and tell us why they made their list.
The next installment of The Meeting*, scheduled for March 16, will be a tribute to the popular TV program "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer." Additionally, Night of a Thousand Judys – the special all-star concert presentation of The Meeting* to benefit Ali Forney Center – will return for its fourth annual installment in June 2014.
Hunter Ryan Herdlicka: "No One Is Alone." Although it isn't the Witch's song from Into the Woods, her recordings and live performances are the most thoughtful and beautiful versions of this song I have seen. Her music director, Marvin Laird, has also created a really spectacular arrangement.
Hunter Ryan Herdlicka: "Time Heals Everything." The first show I ever saw in London was Mack and Mabel — needless to say it was also the first cast recording I ever owned. But when I heard Bernadette sing "Time Heals Everything" a few years later, the song took on a whole new meaning. It is absolutely raw and stunning.
Hunter Ryan Herdlicka: "There Won't Be Trumpets." The live recording of Anyone Can Whistle is really thrilling and some of my favorite Bernadette songs are in it, especially the rarely performed “There Won't Be Trumpets.”
Justin Sayre: "Look What Happened to Mabel." One of my favorite Jerry Herman songs ever, maybe because I often refer to myself as Miss Waitress from Flatbush. The lyrics are fantastic: "The girl with the pickles who hustled for nickels," it doesn't get better than that. And, it's so perfectly Bernadette — the voice, the sly "cuteness," and the belt. Rattle Me Beads.
Justin Sayre: "Move On." My favorite Sondheim song from my favorite Sondheim musical, and a lot of that has to do with Bernadette. Her Dot was all power and bite and crushing vulnerability. This song is Dot's great culmination, but also her greatest gift. I listen to it, whenever I have writer's block and try to move on.
Justin Sayre: "Pearl's A Singer." Her simple honest voice — there's so much longing in it. And, her phrasing is flawless; you can almost see the barroom and the tired old Pearl taking a break, throwing a few back. It's beautiful.
Carole J. Bufford: "Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)." I loved this song from her self-titled "Bernadette" CD… A childhood favorite of mine.
Carole J. Bufford: "Broadway Baby." The Bufford family hosted many a guest that got to see and hear some SPECIAL interpretations of this song from my eight-year-old self.
Carole J. Bufford: "Being Alive." Does one really need to explain? She's so damned good!
Gabrielle Stravelli: "Easy Street" from Annie. This is one of my favorite Bernadette songs because this movie was everything to me when I was a kid! Her Lily St. Regis is spot on, plus, who knew she could kick a leg like that?
Gabrielle Stravelli: Everything she does in Sunday In The Park. That show is so astonishing and her performance — the singing and acting, the nuance, the bravado — is equally so.
Gabrielle Stravelli: "What's the Use of Won'drin'?" I've always loved her rendition of this song — so simple and completely heartfelt.
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