Original musicals must rise to her. Christine Ebersole can do—and has done—it all, from nightclub acts to films and even a season of Saturday Night Live. She can really knock out a number, moving with ease among a lustrous belt, a quasi-operatic soprano and multiple other modes.
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Nobody could shake it like Dorothy Loudon. A master of letting loose, she honed her comic craft in nightclubs and a series of short-lived Broadway shows, plumbing her quavering, expressive pipes to madcap effect. True to her name, she was often both dotty and loud. She hit the jackpot in , flouncing gleefully through her role as the villainous Miss Hannigan in Annie. But in her next show, the musical drama Ballroom , Loudon proved that she could not only split your sides but break your heart.
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Sutton Foster Charleston-ed giddily into the Broadway spotlight when the producers of Thoroughly Modern Millie plucked her out of the kickline during out-of-town tryouts in La Jolla, California, and replaced the lead actor with her. She opened Millie in , nabbed a Tony and never looked back.
Currently she's blowing her horn as Reno in Anything Goes. Anna in The King and I to the world-wise Lotte Lenya of LoveMusik , she has been a remarkable chameleon, earning two Tonys and a wheelbarrow of critical bouquets along the way.
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She had that swoony, trembling delivery you hear in recordings before the songbook got jazzier and brassier. It was also, tragically, her last: During the run, she died of cancer at But the peak of her stage career came in , when producer David Merrick—in an unprecedented move—replaced the entire cast of his long-running hit Hello, Dolly!
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Betty Buckley is a genuinely eccentric and eccentrically genuine performer: part Method actor, part shaman, part little Betty Lynn a long way from West Texas. Her voice can sound haunted in its lower registers, then rise to a steely high belt, with a pulsing, magisterial vibrato. Her greatest turns—Grizabella in Cats , Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard —have been in rotting-glamour roles that seized on the defining paradox of her persona: a compellingly intense yin-yang of fragility and imperiousness.
Equal parts blond bombshell and battle-ax, she sings in a skeleton key that somehow unlocks every song. Her curmudgeonly, whiskey-drenched style explodes with a rare force of character: a tough yet tender blend of honesty, rue and mordant wit. A diminutive blond with a piercing, helium-tinged belting voice and a comic manner that harks back to great funnywomen of old, Kristin Chenoweth is the most distinctive musical-theater star to emerge in decades. True, she had the starring role in only one musical—as Fanny Brice, the swanning ugly duckling of Funny Girl —before abandoning the stage for good.
But Barbra Streisand never left Broadway, exactly; she brought it with her to movies, albums and concert halls. And her signature vocal style, a suspension bridge between old-school belting and microphone pop, remains influential throughout the theater world. Sometimes just a single stamp can leave a deep impression.
Channing is nothing if not distinctive: an Al Hirschfeld caricature in the flesh, all platinum hair and two-tiered grin, with a trombone voice that slides out by surprise.
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But Audra McDonald has an instrument of operatic force and she has the acting chops to back it up. She's bold, beautiful, noble—yet, as you can see in the current revisal of Porgy and Bess , she can do abject and unglamorous too. And you can bet that Bess will earn her the fifth.
A top Broadway ingenue in such s classics as The Music Man and Candide , Barbara Cook has since emerged as perhaps the greatest living interpreter of the classic Broadway songbook—an accomplishment recognized with a Kennedy Center Honor in Her exquisite honesty has a restorative effect on the material she sings, which in other hands might seem expendable; she spins Broadway straw into gold. Despite her success in concerts and cabaret, Cook remains a theater singer to the core.
The golden age lives for as long as she sings; listen closely to her voice, and you may hear the fabled lullaby of Broadway itself. Time has treated Chita Rivera with the kindness of a loyal fan. Now in her late seventies, this bona fide Broadway icon seems fit as a well-tuned fiddle; in her Broadway retrospective, The Dancer's Life , she was still pulling off high kicks. Turn off email alerts. Skip to main content. Refine your search for idina menzel book.
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