WEST SIDE STORY
KISS ME, KATE
(BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall with The John Wilson Orchestra)
(at The Vineyard Theatre)
London's West End
Los Angles, California
(at "Inner Voices")
"Alexandra Silber spends most of her time in “Arlington” sitting at the family piano, primly dressed in a floral print, pearls and a white cardigan, and gradually releasing the anguish behind her repression. Her voice is operatic and filled with emotion; so is this sweet, sobering drama, by Polly Pen and Victor Lodato,
the poignant standout in the latest production in the Premieres series Inner Voices (the others were in 2008 and 2010), an evening of three one-act solo musicals at 30th Street Theater, with minimal sets, unassuming production values and intense introspection.
'Arlington' feels at first like a World War II story, but lines like “She was actually very pretty in a Demi Moore evil princess sort of way” and “You know what I totally love? Chard!” suggest otherwise. Ms. Silber plays a young wife holding down the home front, with increasing amounts of loneliness-filling alcohol, while her husband is away at war. Ms. Pen, the composer of the seductive “Goblin Market” a quarter-century ago, has written music that is haunting even when it claims not to be. And remarkably, Ms. Silber and her director, the superb Jack Cummings III, manage to turn Stephen Foster’s 150-year-old “Beautiful Dreamer” into a powerhouse 11 o’clock number."
-- The New York Times
CABARET and SOLO CONCERTS
“ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Just now and again someone special comes along who is forever bookmarked in your Favourites and you never let them go. In a most unusual and eclectic collection of songs, Silber shows remarkable taste, versatility and sheer depth of musical knowledge that makes quite a change from the standard material offered by many cabaret artists today. What an evening to start September. I doubt there will be anything classier any time soon “ — MUSICAL THEATRE REVIEW
" Just seen the utterly phenomenal Alexandra Silber (@alsilbs) open her season at The Crazy Coqs: a glorious musical night. Not only does she have the most shimmering, sure theatrical soprano this side of Audra McDonald, she also has an authentic spirit. That makes Silber a real one-of-a-kind original; she's hilarious, moving & miraculous sounding -- often all at once! I'm going again!” — MARK SHENTON, The Stage
"★ ★ ★ ★ ★ One of the extraordinary things about Barbara Cook’s Spotlight Series - now in its fifth year at the Kennedy Center – is that it introduces or reintroduces Washington DC audiences to a diverse array of musical theatre talent – some well-known, while others less-known, but equally impressive and skilled vocalists. As an aficionado of the contemporary musical theatre scene, I was certainly intrigued by the announcement that Alexandra Silber would take part in this series. I knew that the young American made a splash on the West End in such hits as Carousel, The Woman in White, and Fiddler on The Roof, and quite recently debuted at the Kennedy Center in Master Class with Tyne Daly, a show that later went to Broadway, where she reprised her role of Sophie DePalma. All of these things, of course, are impressive feats in their own right.
I didn’t know, until now, that she is not only an extremely talented vocalist that can sing anything from opera to showtunes to pop, but she is also an extremely intelligent, thought-provoking and interesting story-teller.
The Kennedy Center audience was richly spoiled by her perfect blend of stories, songs, and lessons learned in life. She certainly did not disappoint and neither did the two Broadway musicians that backed her up – Nicholas Archer on piano and Mark Vanderpoel on bass.
Her solo cabaret act, London Still, explored how the California/Michigan native ended up as a star of the West End stage, the lessons she learned there, and her return to America. Pondering the question of “where do I belong?,” Silber took the audience on a very personal journey filled with songs from musical theatre giants like Jerry Herman, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein and John Kander and Fred Ebb, but also contemporary composers like William Finn and Jeff Blumenkrantz. Every song seamlessly moved her story forward, but also treated the audience to some very brilliant singing.
All of her songs were expertly sung and her emotional connection to the lyrics defied her young age. Given her great skill, it is difficult to pinpoint some highlights of the evening because there were so many. Her “And the World Goes Round,” which started the evening off, was one of the best renditions of the classic Kander and Ebb song I have heard and her strong belt definitely caught my attention because I wrongly assumed that, given the roles she’s played in the past, the evening would be filled with ingénue ballads. She proved me wrong. Likewise, “Typically English” (Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley) and “My Book,” (Jeff Blumenkrantz) brought some much needed humor to the evening and showed the audience her light (and sometimes self-deprecating) side.
“Wherever He Ain’t” (Jerry Herman) and “I Enjoy Being a Girl” (Rodgers and Hammerstein) highlighted her fiery nature and her seemingly natural ability to tell a story with song. The former song from Mack and Mabel has been previously covered by Christiane Noll, and Silber certainly follows in Noll’s footsteps with her enviable versatility. While the latter song from Flower Drum Song has been covered many times before (perhaps too many times) she put her own spin on it, which was most welcome.
Vocally, Alexandra’s “Ah, Non Credea Mirarti,” (Bellini) which she previously sang in the Kennedy Center’s production of Master Class, was unparalleled. Her strong and highly-trained voice projected to the back of the Terrace Theatre without any amplification. It was a delight to hear all of the rich tones and colors in her voice in all of their natural glory.
Though the songs were clearly the highlight (it was a cabaret, after all) Silber also lent her creative hand to the evening by sharing some videos that highlight those experiences that shaped who she has become- some of which are rather funny. While I won’t give away all of the details in case readers get the opportunity to witness her cabaret in other venues, I will say that the technological element was not intrusive, but rather seamlessly interwoven into the presentation. In less capable hands, however, they probably would’ve been a distraction.
All in all, it was a glorious evening and I certainly intend to follow her career as she makes her forays into the American musical theatre scene. American audiences are certainly lucky to have her back.
— Maryland Theatre Guide