Christiane Noll: Coming Alive Again – Review by Nancy Sasso Janis

Broadway’s Christiane Noll is back on the stage presented by a partnership between TheaterWorks Hartford and Goodspeed Musicals. The filmed live to stream cabaret performance “Christiane Noll: Coming Alive Again” is streaming now through May 30.

After 14 months of quarantine, a Broadway shut down, a roller coaster of good news and bad news, the Tony-nominee singing actress is optimistic. With caution and a lot of hope, she has ventured out of her home and into both of the presenting venues to share an intimate cabaret to be enjoyed in the comfort of one’s home.

Rob Ruggiero of TheatreWorks Hartford directed Noll, who sings many carefully chosen musical numbers interspersed with honest interludes that explore themes of motherhood and complex women. At times moving, at others funny, and always thoughtful, the performance tells the story of a Broadway artist attempting to navigate her way through a world paralyzed by a pandemic. Music direction was by William Waldrop.

The musical portions were filmed in the Hartford theatre, in front of the set for the recent “The Sound Inside,” while the interludes were filmed in the familiar seats at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam.

The cabaret opens with “Before the Parade Passes By.” The director notes that TheaterWorks audiences fell in love with this actress when she starred in the theater’s “Next To Normal,” so it is only fair that she includes the majestic “I Miss the Mountains.” It only took me the first four notes to recognize “For Good” from “Wicked,” a piece that she sings in a virtual duet with herself.

Other numbers that I recognized included “Back to Before” from “Ragtime,” a “Follies” medley, “Everybody Says Don’t” from “Anyone Can Whistle,” and the frenetic “Not Getting Married” from “Company.” Even if the song was new to me, it was a pleasure to listen to this lovely soprano singing voice.

The singer graciously introduces the musicians that surround her at the beginning of the benefit concert. Conductor William Waldrop is behind the piano, with Celeste Cumming on cello, Billy Bivona on both guitar and French horn, and Jonathan Barber on drum kit.

The actress who calls herself a “COVID cliche,” sings beautifully throughout and performs several of the more intense numbers, changing her costume to match the tone.

The filmed cabaret performance, which is not part of a TheatreWorks membership, is streaming through May 30. The runtime of the stream is 65 minutes with no intermission.Tickets, priced at $25 can be purchased online at twhartford.org or by calling 860.527.7838

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