By Tom Alvarez, Indianapolis Performing Arts Examiner
January 29, 2015
There was no finer way for the Cabaret at the Columbia Club to kick off their 2015 season and reinforce their hot ticket brand than to present two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster on Friday for the first of two shows, the second on Saturday.
The last time Foster appeared in Central Indiana was in October of 2013 when she performed at the Palladium in Carmel at a benefit concert for Actors Theatre of Indiana. With direct ties to Indiana, Foster serves on the adjunct faculty of Ball State University where she mentors students in the department of theater and dance. Ball State University also partners with the Cabaret, which hosted a cabaret show Thursday featuring BU students coached by Sutton. Joining the sold out house at Foster’s Cabaret opening was a table filled with Ball State faculty including theater and dance department chair Bill Jenkins.
“Violet,” “Anything Goes” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” are just three of the Broadway shows that Georgia native Sutton has starred in and from which she drew songs during her show, which she performed with her long-time music director, pianist Michael Rafter. Also included in her set were songs from her 2009 debut album “Wish” and several tunes from a new album which she said was in the works.
The girlishly appealing Foster not only showed off her crystal clear-toned voice, but also a superb vocal range and control, not to mention cool poise as she interpreted songs such as “Nice ‘n’ Easy,” “Warm All Over,” “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” “My Heart Was Set On You,” “Down With Love,” “Someone To Watch Over Me” and “Sunshine On My Shoulders.”
One of Sutton’s most affecting renditions was Hoagy Carmichael’s “The Nearness of You,” in which she captured the song’s aching yearning.
The evening’s highlight was near the end of her set when she sang a medley of the demure “Anyone Can Whistle” and “Being Alive,” during which she demonstrated that she could belt with the best of them.
For an encore, Sutton sang “Anything Goes,” the title song from the 2011 Broadway revival of the Cole Porter musical, for which she won one of her Tony awards.
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