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BWW Review: ANDREA McARDLE is Still Full of Surprises at The Green Room 42

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Andrea Mcardle Sings Her Greatest Hits and Then Some

BWW Review: ANDREA McARDLE is Still Full of Surprises at The Green Room 42
Photo credit: Stephen Mosher

There's an old adage that warns that you should never meet your childhood heroes because they will inevitably be disappointing. Like most young performers of my generation, I grew up listening to Andrea McArdle (Annie, Jerry's Girls, Starlight Express, State Fair, Beauty and the Beast,) who is exactly my age. She was the performer we all wanted to be: a one-of-a-kind voice, plucked from obscurity to star in what would become an iconic musical theatre role. The only time I ever saw Andrea McArdle onstage, she was almost unrecognizable, dressed in head to toe shimmering chrome, playing a train car in Starlight Express. So it was with some trepidation that tonight I got to see, at long last, my childhood hero perform her self-titled one-woman show at The Green Room 42.

I'm happy to report that the old adage is dead wrong. Not only was Andrea McArdle not a disappointment, she was exactly right. She was in fantastic voice, she looked like a million bucks, and she sang every single song you wanted her to sing, including THAT one. But that song is only the tip of the iceberg in a long Broadway career that has been full of surprises. Her show tonight reflected that and had a few surprises of its own.

She welcomed us with a mash-up of "New York, New York" and "NYC" reminding us that she is a Philly girl but this is the city where she became who she is. She celebrated the lifting of Covid restrictions with Charles Strouse's "Got a Lot of Livin' to Do." She gave a wonderfully pensive air to "It Might as Well Be Spring," her big song from Rogers and Hammerstein's State Fair. In "Wherever He Ain't," the Mack & Mabel song she sang in Jerry's Girls, she proved she can still belt with the best of them. It was pretty thrilling.

McArdle turned from belting to give us an intimate and lovely rendition of the Carpenter's "Rainy Days and Mondays." She treated us to a tribute to Judy Garland by singing her A Star is Born number, "Lose That Long Face" in a medley with "Put on a Happy Face." She continued with Charles Strouse by singing "Maybe," which she told us is her favorite number from Annie. Mine too.

She exercised her rock chops with Billy Joel's "Angry Young Man." It was a perfect fit for her bright, clarion voice. She ended her show with two signature songs. The first one from her friend and mentor, the late Carol Channing. She sang "Before the Parade Passes By" and gave it an all-new spin by making it about rejoining life after the pandemic. Then she gave us her own signature song. No matter how many times you've heard it, listening to Andrea McArdle sing "Tomorrow" is special. She's added some style to it and the new riffs reflect the many roads she's journeyed down since she first sang it. And after the year we've all had, "Tomorrow" could be a theme song for us all.

Ms. McArdle was backed up by one of Broadway's busiest musical directors, Phil Reno (Ever After, Something Rotten, The Drowsy Chaperone.) He is a sensitive and virtuosic accompanist as well as being a great foil for Ms. McArdle's self-deprecating wit. He got to show off in their encore, a medley of "The Trolley Song" and "Over the Rainbow." He emulated every bell and whistle on the trolley to perfection.

Andrea McArdle will return to The Green Room 42 on July 24 and again on August 21. You should get tickets early. You do not want to miss this magnificent performer reminding you of why she is a Broadway legend.

Follow Andrea McArdle on Instagram @mcbwaybaby. To get tickets for Andrea McArdle and other greats acts at The Green Room 42, visit greenfignyc.com.


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