The cover art of this latest CD in the 54 Below series by Broadway Records really says it all as far what you are going to get when you buy it: a 70's icon with a coy smile with material the goes down a smoothly as another 70's icon, TAB. The content is strictly 70's - Broadway standards and songs by other 70's icons. In between, she keeps the patter light and quick and, most importantly, sincere. She sounds almost as embarrassed as she is proud to have met Barbra Streisand, Brooke Shields and Michael Jackson. And she tells some really nice stories - her obsession with A Chorus Line is sweet, and her story of being taken down a peg or three by none other than Carol Channing is as charming as it is funny. She does a hilarious Channing impression.
|Artwork announcing this show|
at 54 Below
She also picks some great 70's standards, including a fine tribute to The Carpenters' "Rainy Days and Mondays" and a fierce reading of Billy Joel's "Angry Young Man." And she includes lesser known songs by giants like The Jacksons and Peter Allen. She ends with a soaring "Over the Rainbow," from her film Garland in which she played Judy.
Director Scott Logsdon keeps things going at a brisk pace with just enough time to savor one delight before moving on to the next. And McArdle's band is top notch, most notably pianist/arranger/musical director Steve Marzullo.
When you buy this CD, and you really should, be sure to take a close look at all of the publicity stills of young Annie, Miss Andrea McArdle, giving audience to such luminaries as Streisand, Jackson and one Mohammad Ali. They were coming to see her. A real American icon of the Broadway stage.