Review: Sutton Foster Showcases Her Soprano in Concert with Boston Pops

The two-time Tony winner recently gave two concerts at Symphony Hall

By: Jun. 12, 2024
Review: Sutton Foster Showcases Her Soprano in Concert with Boston Pops
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Sutton Foster just may have made history during her recent concerts with the Boston Pops – as the first artist to break out the crochet needles and yarn to add a few rows to an in-progress blanket mid-performance at Symphony Hall.

The two-time Tony Award-winning Foster (“Anything Goes,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie”) accompanied the crocheting with a plug for her book, “Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life,” and a gentle cover of John Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulders.”

Known for both her powerful belt and her smooth-as-satin soprano, Foster, in a bias-cut black sequined gown that was only slightly less dazzling than her smile, leaned toward the latter for most of the first of her two concerts with the Pops – under the baton of guest conductor Eric Stern – which she opened with a bouncy and buoyant medley of songs from shows she’s done in her 30+-year stage career. Her splendid vocal versatility was on full display in “If I Were a Bell” from “Guys and Dolls,” “Singin’ in the Rain” from the show of the same name, “Not for the Life of Me” from “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “NYC” from “Annie,” and “Astonishing” from “Little Women.”

Foster is one of the busiest Broadway performers working today. Indeed, between starring as Marian the Librarian in the Hugh Jackman-led 2022 revival of “The Music Man” and stepping in as the second Mrs. Lovett in the 2023 revival of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” Foster found time to star as Princess Winnifred in the New York City Center production of “Once Upon a Mattress” this past winter. She will reprise the role when that show moves to Broadway, at the Hudson Theatre, beginning July 31 for a four-month limited run.

And so her Boston visit was met with sustained applause at every turn by an appreciative audience who reveled in the glory of her pristine voice. With her longtime accompanist, Michael Rafter, at the piano, Foster smoothly moved through a spirited “Slap That Bass” by George and Ira Gershwin and the gorgeous “Goodnight, My Someone,” by Meredith Willson, from “The Music Man,” which, as it was on Broadway, provided the perfect showcase for Foster’s clarion-clear vocals. It also gave the performer the perfect opportunity to share warm and funny stories about her seven-year-old daughter, Emily, to whom she dedicated the song.

Foster and Rafter’s piano-only pairings included a light and lovely “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be),” and “Thank You So Much” from the 1965 Broadway musical “Do I Hear a Waltz?” with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Foster returned to Willson and her Tony Award-nominated turn in “The Music Man” to close out the night with the beautiful ballad “Till There Was You.

(The first half of the program was conducted by Adam Boyles and featured impressive performances by the winners of the Fidelity Investments 2024 Young Artists Competition: violinist Jiyu Oh, drummer Brian Washington, pianist Pelin Su Yavuz, cellist Lazar Kaminsky, and Dilzafer Singh on the tabla.)

Photo caption: Sutton Foster recently gave two concerts with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall. Photo by Michael J. Lutch.


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