After at least five solid minutes of applause, Linda Eder, who had a huge smile of appreciation on her face, began her debut concert July 17 at the Supper Club on W 47th Street in New York.
The co-star of Broadway's Jekyll & Hyde started out with "It's Time," the song title of her newest album on Atlantic Records. When the second round of applause died down she introduced her next song with the following: "A lot of people keep trying to say I imitate Barbra Streisand, and I usually do much Barbra Streisand but I rarely try to imitate her. But you know, if I were to do that I would pick one of her well known songs and do it in exactly the same arrangement, you know what I'm saying?" and in she came with a her own rendition of Streisand's signature "Don't Rain on My Parade" from Funny Girl. In addition, she even had the different colored lights changing with every different beat.
Eder said that people had told her she was crazy to be doing a concert while also doing Jekyll. She replied that she "was going nuts without this." She said that she enjoys singing the same songs night after night but what she really is a concert singer. She introduced her band as the Men in Black and began her next number, "Don't Ask Me Why" which is told the audience was written just for her. Afterward she admitted that she was afraid to appear on RuPaul's show because she thought he would get mad at the line of lyrics in the song, "why is RuPaul a guy?" She said she never thought she would actually meet RuPaul but sure enough she made an appearance on his show a few weeks back and all she had to say about him was "He was TALL!"
Eder said one of her inspirations growing up was Judy Garland and always wanted to sing her songs. Eder then sang two of Garland's signature songs, "The Man That Got Away" and "Over the Rainbow" which she delivered in a slightly different style, belting out her "somewhere over the rainbows" but ending melodically like a lullaby the way Garland had originated it.
On her next song, which she stopped because she "messed up the lyric," she joked about earlier saying that her worst nightmare was getting up on stage and forgetting all the lyrics to all her songs. She started the song over and got it right on the second try. The selection after that, "I Want More," had a story. Composer Frank Wildhorn, her fiance, had written the music and gave it to Jack Murphy, a lyricist who does a lot of work with Wildhorn, and asked him to put words to it. Eder said Wildhorn wasn't happy with the result and asked for a rewrite. But Eder saw the lyric and told Wildhorn, "Don't you dare change a word," and its still here today."I Want More" is about a woman who wants, what else but, "Magic carpets, true romance, and moonlight cruises to the South of France". The moral of the song, "if you want me I want more."
Eder sang a few more songs before surprising the audience with none other-than a song from the show she stars in every night on Broadway, Jekyll & Hyde. The only exception is that she doesn't get to sing this one every night on stage. It was cut on the pre-Broadway tour and replaced by her new song "Good 'n' Evil" -- and in she started with "Bring on the Men." As the audience clapped in sync with the chorus she hammed it up as if she were still performing it each night by doing the same gestures and movements as she did in the touring version of the show.
Her next song was one from Wildhorn's latest score, The Civil War, "I Never Knew His Name". This song is sung by a nurse who takes care of dying young soldiers. Another song from this CD, "Candle in the Window", which was not performed, can be heard on Eder's new album "It's Time". Next was "Last Tango" followed by a Stephen Sondheim/Maury Yeston mix, "Losing My Mind" and "Unusual Way," respectively.
As the end of the performance neared, Eder chose a song that she said, with an enigmatic smile, was "written for women (and a few men)." "Big Time" is about a woman breaking into show business with an agent who tells her all she needs is "big time looks, a shady accountant who can cook the books, a couple of well-placed friends, some dynamite 8x10s before you can reap those big-time dividends."
For her big ending number she chose the exhilarating "I Am I, Don Quixote" from Man of La Mancha. For her big high notes in the middle of the song she took a deep breath, turned to the audience, made the sign of the cross and began. It must have helped because she hit the notes just as you hear them on the CD.
As an encore, she sang, "Something to Believe In" which she dedicated to her fans in the audience.
-- By Andrea Prince