Remembering Aretha Franklin With 7 of Her Greatest Theatrical Performances

Video   Remembering Aretha Franklin With 7 of Her Greatest Theatrical Performances
Known for her hits “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and “Chain of Fools,” the late Queen of Soul—who died August 16—leaves behind a collection of remarkable theatrical covers.
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

Aretha Franklin, the late Queen of Soul who died August 16 at the age of 76 in Detroit, Michigan, was best-known for her classic hits “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Ain’t No Way,” “Think,” and “Chain of Fools,” among man others.

A 20-time Grammy Award recipient and the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the pioneering singer and musician covered a wide range of material in her 40-year career, from gospel, R&B and pop, to Broadway—even taking on opera, in her legendary performance of Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” at the 1998 Grammys.

We remember the late music icon with a selection of performances from Broadway and beyond.

In 1993, Franklin delivered a thrilling rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables during President Bill Clinton’s inauguration.

Franklin lent her signature vocals to Ahrens and Flaherty’s rousing Ragtime anthem “Make Them Hear You” during the 2009 Mandela Day at Radio City Music Hall.

A rare glimpse of Franklin during a 1968 concert tour of Sweden, performing a medley of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from Annie Get Your Gun, and “Come Back to Me” from On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.

Franklin also recorded several Broadway songs, including “What I Did For Love” from A Chorus Line, only available on the LP Sweet Passion.

Franklin first recorded “People” from the Broadway smash Funny Girl in 1964, for an LP she was working on for Capital Records. The recording was later released on a 2011 re-issue of Take a Look: The Clyde Otis Sessions.

Franklin recorded a classic take of Camelot’s “If Ever I Would Leave You” on her 1970 album Sweet Bitter Love.

Perhaps her most breathtaking performance took place at the 1998 Grammy Awards, when Franklin was called upon to fill in for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti and deliver the stirring aria “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot.

In 2017, The Color Purple Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo would return the favor, stepping in for Franklin to perform the aria at the Kennedy Center


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