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Review: Bernadette Peters at the Palladium

February 15, 2012

Bernadette Peters has performed in so many Broadway shows that she can do a full set of songs at the Palladium, as she did on Feb. 15, skip songs from most of them, and still satisfy.

With strong back-up from the Carmel Symphony Orchestra, Peters bypassed "Song and Dance," "A Little Night Music," "Sunday in the Park with George" and others where her name was above the title on Broadway, only dipping into her own original cast recording oevre for the heartbreakingly delivered "Losing My Mind" from her most recent stint, headling "Follies" (which closed just a few weeks ago). 

She did slip in a few songs that she didn't sing in her shows, including "No One is Alone" from "Into the Woods" and "Let Me Entertain You" from "Gypsy," but for the most part, she was exploring songs she hadn't tempered in eight-show-a-week runs.

She skillfully captured the passionate longing of  "Some Enchanted Evening," wasn't quite in control of the vocal acrobatics of "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," paird two Disney songs, and playfully vamped through "There is Nothing Like a Dame." Peters played the sultry card again with what she said was her first-ever performance of "Fever," which included some requisite lounging-on-the-piano moments, which the crowd ate up.

Peters was at her best, though, when playing straight to the microphone, riding the emotional roller coaster of "Losing My Mind" and mining unexpected emotional power from the traditional folk song "Shenandoah."

Peters only played the post-intermission side of the evening, leaving the first half to Michael Feinstein who stressed Sinatra tunes and great American songbook entries. The low point was a version of "Hello, Dolly!" featuring some new lyrics by Jerry Herman that felt like discarded first drafts. The high points: Some fun anecdotes (as one expects from this great music history storyteller) and an offer for the audience to shout out any Gershwin title, leading to a sweet "Embracable You."

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