Laura Osnes with Seth Rudetsky – Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Theater Review – January 24, 2020


Virginia G. Piper Theater, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Scottsdale, AZ

Broadway musical theater aficionado, Seth Rudetsky, brings New York stage stars to Scottsdale in his superb Concert Series that introduces major artists to local audiences they might not otherwise get to see.  He combines classic musical theater songs with enlightening informal chat between tunes that lets audiences learn about the singer, including their background and training.

His latest program introduced the gifted Laura Osnes who has based her career on Broadway and television.  Her Scottsdale appearance featured songs Osnes has sung on Broadway but also included songs from shows she has yet to perform.  An unusual situation allowed Osnes to bring her ophthalmologist father on stage who was in town for a convention to sing a “Music Man” duet that documented where Osnes inherited her vocal pipes.

Osnes has starred in such shows as “Anything Goes,” “South Pacific,” “Grease,” “Bandstand,” and “Cinderella.”  Tunes from these shows were included in the generous selection of songs plus a smashing encore of “My Fair Lady’s” “I Could Have Danced All Night.”

Osnes did one of the most touching renditions of “Carousel’s” “If I Loved You” I ever heard and this is from a critic who saw the show’s original Julie, Jan Clayton, sing this song in a revival with John Riatt.  Osnes’ charming “A Wonderful Guy” from “South Pacific” gave concertgoers a chance to hear her take of a song she sang in the recent Broadway revival when Osnes replaced Kelli O’Hara as Nellie.

Of the shows Osnes has starred in, she sang a memorable “How “Bout a Dance?” from “Bonnie and Clyde,“ a tune from “Bandstand,” a show where Osnes created a new musical comedy character, a lush “It’s De-Lovely” from “Anything Goes,” and a tender “Far From the Home I Love” from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Musical theater lovers were enchanted with an interesting arrangement of songs from three different versions of “Cinderella” including a well known Rodgers and Hammerstein song, an original song from Disney’s film version, and Stephen Sondheim’s take from “Into the Woods.”

Other show-stopping moments included a rousing “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and a jazzy “Blue Skies.”  In addition to Osnes, one must comment on Rudetsky’s expert piano accompaniment and his relaxed chatter with the Broadway star that enables him to bring out the artist’s career highlights.

Rudetsky isn’t doing as many shows this season but musical theater lovers will still treasure these excellent songfests and insightful introductions of Broadway stars.  Next this season is Norm Lewis on March 6.  Laura Osnes played for one performance only on Friday, January 24.  For tickets to Norm Lewis’ concert, contact the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts box office at 480-499-8587 or order tickets online at www.scottsdaleperforming

Grade: A