Richard and I watched *There Will Be Light,* a fundraiser for Acting For Others, a charity that provides emotional and financial support to theatre workers in times of need. And this is definitely one of those times, right? The performers were a mixture of West End and Broadway people, they all seemed to be somewhere south of 30 years old.
The host and first performer was Sarah Drake, a young singer full of moxie and Broadway know-how. She opened with “Don’t Rain On My Parade” from *Funny Girl* and knocked it out of the park. She sang this to a re-recorded orchestral track, karaoke style.
Next up, Michael Tacconi singing “Hope She’ll Be Happier,” a Bill Withers song. He accompanied himself on the guitar. He’s got a nice voice but I wasn't wild for his singing. You see the distinction.
Drake did a little pseudo-stand-up between numbers, she was funny and (essential) didn’t go on too long. Her "sister from another mister" Rebecca Stenhouse sang “Maybe This Time,” another song we love. Could I save a little trouble and say that nearly all of the songs were karaoke style? She started it with sweetness and sincerity, naturally building towards a big ka-pow of a full belted ending. She didn’t quite banish away memories of Pia Zadora singing this song at the Metropolitan Club, but I don’t want to forget that anyway.
Stenhouse’s boyfriend Alex Lodge was the next performer, singing a song we didn’t know, “Moving Too Fast.” Cute song and he did a great job with it, he was full of verve. Drake sang “Can’t Make You Love Me,” a downcast ballad, a nice contrast to her show-stopping opening number. She’s a gem.
Tavia Rivée sang “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and killed it! Is there a Whitney Houston jukebox musical in development or in an out-of-town tryout? If yes, hire Miss Rivée to play Miss Houston!
I liked the next song, “Moving the Line.” I looked it up online and saw it was from *Smash,* that TV series I was supposed to have watched a few years ago. Maybe it’s on Peacock? Or similar? Rebecca Gilhooley did a spectacular job, what a set of pipes, she was one of the strongest singers on the bill.
I thought I knew the next song, “The Other Side of the Tracks” - - turns out it was done by the great Faith Hill in her Joe’s Pub concert that I have on CD. Tiffany Chalothorn sang it very well, brava to her.
The next song was a nice change in terms of format. It was “Apex Predator” from *Mean Girls,* a somewhat current Broadway show. I say “somewhat current” because there’s NO shows on Broadway at the time of this writing, though that will allegedly change in a couple months. Pardon me for raining on your parade, but I’m a little skeptical. At first it seemed like a solo song for Drake but halfway through she was joined by Stenhouse, singing from her Zoom screen beside her. Cool.
How about another tender ballad? Emma Salvo sang “Times Like These.” Lovely song about a single girl getting a dog. Cute idea for a song and Salvo was darling.
Nick Hayes sang “Beautiful City” with Mark Houston on guitar, playing along with a karaoke track. Another ballad, nice.
Solomon Jaye closed the show with “Through Heaven’s Eyes.” Is this song really from *The Prince of Egypt*? Do I need to see that movie? Jaye was wonderful. It took me this long to realize that these gifted young performers see this fundraiser as a sort of audition! I hope it leads to work for all of them!