An online concert in support of Acting for Others. Created, produced and hosted by Sarah Drake.
During the last traumatic year or so when live theatre has been taken from us there have been many online musical concerts put together by various artists to show us what we have been missing. This one stands up there with the best of them. This show is an international fundraiser in aid of the charity “Acting for others” and gives us a veritable feast of excellent singing from a number of performers from Broadway and the West End. Sarah Drake has put together a great show which is in memory of her father who died in October 2020. She has gathered together a number of her musical theatre colleagues who have contributed towards making this a wonderful evening’s entertainment.
Opening the show herself, Sarah gave us a superb rendition of the Barbara Streisand song “Don’t rain on my parade” from “Funny girl” and this certainly set the standard for the rest to follow.
Next came Michael Taccaoni who performed the Bill Withers song “Hope she’ll be happier”. This is one of his lesser known songs and was accompanied by a very minimalistic guitar playing very similar to the original version.
Rebecca Stenhouse then gave us the song “Maybe this time” from “Cabaret”. This was originally performed in the film by Lisa Minnelli and more recently covered brilliantly by Kristen Chenoweth, but this version by Rebecca easily compared with those of her more famous colleagues.
This was followed by Alex Lodge who sang “Moving too fast”, which he made sound almost autobiographical, whether intentional or not.
Sarah herself then returned with a lovely version of “I can’t make you love me”, a song made famous by George Michael and Adele (and Bonnie Raitt if you are a country music fan like me!).
The most well-known song of this show came next with Tavia Rivee giving us the Whitney Houston song “I want to dance with somebody” and she gave a great performance of this classic.
Rebecca Gilhooley came up next to give us her take on the Smash song “They just keep moving the line” and in this fast paced show this was immediately followed by Tiffany Chalothorn singing “On the other side of the tracks” which I believe is a song previously made famous by Tony Bennett.
Sarah and Rebecca Stenhouse then returned to duet on the song “Apex Predator” from “Mean Girls”, which benefitted from some excellent technical production on this song. The title of the song relates to those creatures who are at the top of the food chain, animal and human.
Next up was Emma Salvo who sang “Times like these”, which I believe was originally recorded by the Foo Fighters. Doubtless someone will correct me if I am wrong.
The final 2 songs in the show were written by Stephen Schwartz but from different shows which were over 25 years apart. The first was a very nice version of “Beautiful City” from “Godspell” performed by Nick Hayes with a suitably socially distanced Mark Houston on guitar. In the tradition of keeping the best until the last, the show closed with the song “Through Heaven’s Eyes” from the film “Prince of Egypt” which was outstandingly performed by Solomon Jaye and was a fitting way to close this collection of songs.
I think Sarah Drake has done a wonderful job here of pulling together an extremely talented bunch of singers, many of whom I suspect are good friends, and I can unreservedly recommend this show to anyone who is a lover of musical theatre. It was refreshing to hear some different songs and not just a collection of the most popular songs from the shows – we get enough of them. Added to which this was a fundraiser for a very worthwhile charity – so dig deep folks – and my congratulations go out to all the performers for a superb evening’s entertainment.
Reviewer: David S Clarke
Reviewed: 14th May 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★