BWW Reviews: Eden Espinoza's LOOK AROUND
Accomplished Broadway Diva, Eden Espinosa, began singing at the age of three. She began performing at age five, and recording at the age of ten. In 2003, Ms. Espinosa made her Broadway debut as a member of the Original Broadway Cast of Wicked. She started as the standby for Idina Menzel in the lead role of Elphaba. Nonetheless, she would not be standing in the wings for long. By 2004, Eden Espinosa was making her presence known as a Broadway lead. Since then, she has stared in Brooklyn, Wicked and Rent.
Now, Ms. Espinosa is taking on her first solo album, "Look Around." After years of mulling over the idea of a solo project, "Look Around" has finally hit the shelves (or virtual shelves, if you buy it on iTunes). In an interview with Broadway Spotted, Espinosa discusses the origin of the album's name:
"A friend of mine passed away... last year, and he was always like a big brother in my early-late teenage years. He did a lot of theater in national tours and in LA, and he played Will Rogers in Will Rogers Follies a lot. When he passed away everybody was posting a video of him in the show, and the song was "Look Around." I wanted to include this song on the album as a dedication and a tribute to him. Then looking at all the tracks and trying to decide what they had in common, we decided that each of the songs showed characters going through a unique struggle and path just like me and you in real life. So, I thought we should all take time to Look Around at all of the people we see everyday and try to be accepting and understanding of those around us because you never know what another person might be going through in their personal life."
Inspired by composers like Duncan Sheik and Tom Kitt, Ms. Espinosa was inspired to put new, thoughtful spins on Broadway tunes close to her heart. Overall, Espinosa more than achieves her goal. She does breathe a new pop life into well-known Broadway tunes. A good example of her craftsmanship would be her work on "One Song Glory."
Anyone who has seen Rent knows "One Song Glory" as essentially Roger's fight song. Any version of this song I've heard has sounded exactly like Adam Pascal's (the song's originator). Nonetheless, Ms. Espinosa put an entirely new motivation behind the song. For Eden Espinosa, this is not a fight song. It's a song of recognition. The character is dying. However, it is also a song of redemption. This character is not fighting. This character is saying goodbye. It's the polar opposite of the established version of the song.
I completely appreciate Eden Espinosa's new spin on these Broadway standards for a new generation. Her voice is clear, beautiful and makes her worthy of the title "Broadway Diva." If I could find any issues with the album, other than "One Song Glory", the rest of the album sounded very similar. I would have liked to hear more range on the album.
Although a little repetitive, "Look Around" is definitely worth it to check out (especially on iTunes and Amazon) for "One Song Glory." It's available now. Enjoy.