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Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42

Singing actress Brandi Burkhardt debuted her songwriting talent and her solo concert skill in the same night.

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42

There is a reason why people love singers, why they become besotted by them, why they devote themselves to them, why they make them the conduits to their ardor and admiration. It's because singers make people feel. They make people feel and they do it in ways that most people with two feet on the ground can't do. Although there are those who insist that anyone can sing, the fact is that it just isn't true. Yes, people can learn to carry a tune, people can train their technique, and bully for them. Bravo. But then there are those who have the ability to raise their voice in song in ways so wondrous and glorious that those listening to their craft have no choice but to lean in a little, sigh, and melt into a puddle of emotion that lay, dormant, within them, until a person with a more eloquent way of expressing those emotions came along and unlocked the door, allowing them to spill out onto the floor.

Brandi Burkhardt is one of those singers.

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 An actress who made her start in show business as a vocalist, Ms. Burkhardt has spent the last several years working in television, to some pretty impressive success. Even with all that work and acclaim, Brandi was not able to turn her back on her first love of music, so summers were spent in regional theaters, singing out as characters in beloved musicals. This week, though, Brandi Burkhardt raised her voice in song while playing the most fascinating of characters of all: Brandi Burkhardt, singer-songwriter.

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 FINDING WONDERLAND played The Green Room 42 on Wednesday night and it wasn't just a chance for Brandi Burkhardt to return to the microphone and her musical roots, it was the one-time beauty queen's solo show debut, as well as her first bow as a songwriter. For seventy minutes, the life-threateningly glamorous singing actress took to the stage but it was, factually, more like a mermaid taking to the water. This may have been a first for Brandi, but all the years of singing in symphony shows as an ensemble soloist or guest artist have given the lady enough experience for her to soar to the heights, in much the same way as her extraordinary voice does on songs ranging from classic rock by The Beatles to Disney anthems, from diva pop by Shirley Bassey to Broadway belt by Frank Wildhorn. Burkhardt's was a satisfyingly eclectic collection of music that, perfectly, demonstrated the breadth of her ability, and it is considerable.

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Blazingly beautiful in cultivated couture, Brandi Burkhardt was absolutely adorable as she chatted with her audience in a manner so comfortable and relaxed that one couldn't help but consider that hers was an unrehearsed conversation with the crowd, but anyone who knows director Marc Tumminelli knows that this isn't just something he would discourage, it is something he would adamantly not permit. This was a script that was charted, written, learned, and then thrown out, which is why it was so easy for Ms. Burkhardt to, cheekily, stray from the path for fun little asides to the audience, self-effacing humility, and little Easter Eggs of trivia, like a story about jewelry and fiancees that had the crowd rocking in their seats with peels of laughter. Brandi Burkhardt is irresistible but the audience had no intention of resisting her - they were there for her, hook, line, and sinker, as she rose the room to heights of excitement with some Streisand ("Happy Days Are Here Again") and dropped them into ballad bliss with title track "Finding Neverland," riling them up along the way with a spectacularly jazzy "Can't Buy Me Love" and some classic rock ("How Can I Be Sure"). And all through this diverse program, one thing remained constant: impeccable, shocking vocals.

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Brandi Burkhardt has been blessed with one of the most beautiful voices this writer has ever heard, so much so that if the word "WOW" wasn't scribbled on my notes, it was in the air, escaping from lips attached to a frequently agape jaw. There is so much emotion wrapped up, not only in the sound of Brandi's voice but also in technique that allows for unadulterated breath control and electrifying power, that, at times, it became difficult to believe what one was hearing. This could be one of the most magical voices of this age, on a par with Deborah Cox or Shoshana Bean. After all, who has the chutzpah to take on "Diamonds Are Forever" and who has the ability to do it and survive? Of all the Shirley Bassey songs, this one is the most daunting (even more than "Goldfinger") and this DSB devotee never wants to hear anyone but Dame Shirley sing it - until now. Brandi Burkhardt would have made Bassey herself sit up and smile. And let there be no doubting that Brandi was born to sing Wildhorn; her performances of songs from long in her past were worthy of the emitting of sighs and fluttering of eyelashes, especially the seemingly simple but lush and luxurious "How 'Bout a Dance" from Bonnie and Clyde and the haunting "When The World Was Mine" from Count of Monte Cristo, both of which were evening highlights during a concert that was one home run after another.

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42

In spite of the overall greatness of the concert from start to finish, there was special reward to be found in a "Dream" sequence that featured some heavenly ABBA, some rockin' Blondie, and two eye-popping, jaw-dropping numbers from The Greatest Showman. The medley was already another highlight for Burkhardt, but what brought it to a new level was the introduction of a section of the show where Brandi Burkhardt premiered her own compositions. For three noteworthy new compositions, Brandi got to step away from being a singing actress telling other peoples' stories and she got to be a singer-songwriter, and it was here that Brandi Burkhardt really came to life. The immaculately styled glamor goddess transitioned to rock-and-roll chick singer, dancing around the stage, gettin' down into the groove, and truly, authentically, living her best life. It was a sight to behold because any time someone is walking in authenticity is a moment to be celebrated... but when art is added to the equation, the celebration becomes validation. Brandi Burkhardt is a rock writer. Brandi Burkhardt is a rock singer. Yes, Brandi can still play Mary Poppins and Marian the Librarian - she has the legit training and sound to take those jobs when they come up. Brandi can still sing the entire Frank Wildhorn canon - she has the power and presence to sing in every tribute show and symphony concert that is staged. But this is Brandi Burkhardt's moment as a woman creating her own stories, and the stories she seems to want to tell are songs with intricate lyric structures and interesting melodic lines, and Burkhardt and Musical Director Keith Cotton have worked with the new compositions to make them into bonafide radio tracks worthy of Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks, and watching Brandi rock out to her own compositions was the true purpose of this program, in spite of the sheer glory of hearing her sing those other writers' songs. This was a special moment in Brandi's life journey, and the GR42 audience (live and on live stream) were the lucky recipients of her openness in sharing her artistry and vulnerability with them, for the first time, ever.

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Finding Wonderland may have been a debut solo show and it may have been playing a cabaret room but it felt like a concert being given by a concert star, like Barbra Streisand or Celine Dion. Burkhardt and Tumminelli created this program to suit her aesthetic, which is movie-star elegance, and powerhouse presence. With a band made up of five of the finest musicians in the business, Sheridan Glover's rock concert lighting, a script rehearsed enough times to appear spontaneous, one of the most beautiful and poised women in the world (seriously, every time she moved, I sighed), and those otherworldly vocals, the whole thing was like an old Hollywood Eydie Gorme concert... until it turned into a Deborah Harry concert... but it wasn't Eydie and it wasn't Debbie. It was a Brandi Burkhardt concert, one where Broadway and Bond and Bonnie & Clyde can all play on the same stage because there are, clearly, many facets to Brandi Burkhardt... like a diamond. And all those facets are ready to come flooding out onto the concert stage as the industry's newest woman singer-songwriter stakes her claim and tells her story.

And that is Wonderland Found.

The FINDING WONDERLAND bands is Musical Director and piano - Keith Cotton, Bass - David Finck, Guitar - David Spinozza, Drums - Clint De Gannon, 2nd Key/vocalist - Stephen Murphy (who stepped in at the last minute for a FANTASTIC duet with Brandi).

Find great shows to see on the Green Room 42 website HERE.

Visit the Brandi Burkhardt website HERE.

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42 Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42

Review: Brandi Burkhardt Is A Wonder In FINDING WONDERLAND at The Green Room 42

Photos by Stephen Mosher


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From This Author - Stephen Mosher