By Jeannie Lieberman
From ballads to blues to bouncy
pop the audience joyously rode that trip with her buoyed by a couple of
musicians that jet propelled her through it all.
thanks must go to Daniel Nardicio for his icon series – for bringing such
talent as this night afforded. With the artists he represents, most if whom
either have or could have played New York’s legendary Palace theater Nardicio
has transformed the Ice Palace into its mini version and offers the lucky Grove
audiences the chance to see mega talents in intimate surroundings – big band
accompaniment distilled down to duos, trios and quartets, how rare and
Linda Eder, of whom I knew little except
she married Frank Wildhorn who
wrote the musical “Jekyll &
Hyde” as a starring vehicle for her. After that she dropped out of my
world of theater. A pre show chat with our own divas Demi Tasse and Bella, who
were dressed as elegantly as I have ever seen them in black and pearls in
homage to the night’s performer, both spoke highly of her. “She is very real and down to earth, and above all, very
nice” said Bella, who has often chosen her songs to “sing”. And indeed
the crowd at the Ice Palace already adored her long before her delayed entrance
I was curious to see what had she was all about. What indeed! Little did I know
and would soon discover what a vocal phenom she is!
Eder, who apparently gives master classes in
singing, served up a smorgasbord of seemingly unrelated songs and styles which
had one thing in common – as vehicles to display an impressive vocal virtuosity.
Linda Eder is a larger than life persona,
both in stature and in talent. Her captivating beauty queen smile (1980
Miss Minnesota Pageant) is
The tall, long tressed blonde,
was simplicity itself in an understated black jersey outfit, her only adornment
the rhinestone shoulder clips. But 9t soon became apparent that whatever
glitter and sparkle onstage would come from her vocal pyrotechnics as she
wielded her instrument with the control and confidence of someone in charge.
Born in Tucson Arizona and raised in Brainerd Minnesota of
Austrian and Norwegian parents she made her Br8adway
debut in the musical Jekyll & Hyde originating the role of Lucy, for which
she was received a Drama Desk Award nomination and won a Theaterworld Award for
her debut. Eder has performed in concert halls across the country including Carnegie Hall and Radio
City Musical Hall. She has released 15 solo albums.
Eder launched her eclectic musical
journey with Marvin Hamlisch’s Oscar nominated song (From Ice Castles) “Through
the Eyes of Love”, a beautiful love song which allowed Eder to display her
multi octave range.
She countered that mood with an
up tempo version of Irving Berlin’s 1926 “Blue Skies” which in the hands of this
talented trio - on keyboards, - on bass- turned into a jazz fest.
"I'm Not Lisa"
one of the a saddest country songs ever, written by Jessi Colter in l975,
illustrated Eder’s storytelling technique as she describes the pain that comes
with dating someone who has not gotten over his previous lover.
“Someone Like You… (my heart would
take wing, and I’d feel so alive if someone like you loved me)” written for her
as Lucy in Jeckl & Hyde. Eder infused the song with optimism and hope and it
proved a vehicle for Eder’s remarkable ability to sustain a high note into the
But she brought us all back to
earth with an amusing anecdote about the next number “Sam, You Made the Pants
too Long”, which she first attempted when auditioning. 5 keys too high, too inexperienced
to correct the pianist She ”eventually sang it down” to the right key which, to
the delight of all, she delivered demonstrating a bogus soft shoe (“my feet
never leave the ground”) “because the song seemed to call for it”.
“I Dreamed a Dream” from Les
Miserables, ”the first musical I ever saw as a teenager in Minnesota…it
impacted 0n me and I loved every song” was a study in how to build a song to a
her generous ability to share Eder issued forth a dramatic “Stormy Weather” in
full compliance with the torchy accompaniment of bassist Conrad Korsch whose
solo moments were as stirring as hers. The audience cheered with her every
Prefacing her next selection
with an odd caveat “I love this melody. Some like it, other do not” her
rendition of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” from Evita, was one of the evening’s
most impressive for me personally as once again Eder proved a great storyteller
and I found myself hanging on every word of a song I merely tolerated before.
And, yes, the melody was soaring. Somehow she made the lyric “I love you and
hope you love me” followed with “Just look at me and you will know every word
is true” a direct plea to the audience who responded in kind.
Lest the audience get too
sentimental she broke the mood with the jarring, if jazzy “The Mad Hatter’s
song’ from Wildhorn’s musical Wonderland.
Eder re-visited her teen years
as she recounted her high school musical, “Sound of Music” for which she
coveted the role of Maria (“me, too” came a voice from the audience which brought
the house down) but, because of her nearly seven foot tall height she was assigned
the Mother Superior and replicated her anthem with a powerful “Climb Every
Mountain” going for a stirring high ocatave climax.
“Charade” proved an up tempo
romp but the nostalgic “Vienna” with its sad tale of lost love (“now we sit
here, the best of strangers…take me back again”) proved once again Eder’s acting
chops as she drew us into the story.
a few moments of adulation for her music
director and pianist Billy Stein, who always attracts a coterie of young female
admirers. He was quoted as saying in an interview I actually love conducting. Conducting a Broadway show is
challenging and rewarding. When playing the piano and music directing with
Linda, I am also conducting, but with my head!
His turn to shine came in Deer’s macho rendition
of “Don Quixote,” from Man of LaMancha, (the
audience was invited to join in) an appropriately bombastic finale.
“Thank you, you’re an amazing
audience” she purred before an encore which would melt even the hardest of
hearts: an irresistible melding of “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” with “Over the
Rainbow”. Although this is the third show in a row here that concluded with this
song, Eder’s version was ever so wistful and touching.
Daniel Nardicio’s Icon series at the Ice Palace
Linda Lavin and Billy Stritch in
“Possibilities” on July 27,
Mardi Gras celebration on August 2,
Jackie Hoffman on August 9,
Christine Ebersole and the Aaron Weinstein Trio
in “Strings Attached,”
Save Our Community House benefit August 16,
Kathy Najimy in “Lift up Your Skirt” on August
evening with choreographer Toni Basil on August
Tickets are available at www.DWorld.us, at the
Ice Palace/Grove Hotel office, and at Gostoso in Fire Island Pines