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Review: Carnegie Hall Gets VOSK'd as Jessica Vosk Takes the Stage

During her debut solo concert at the legendary Carnegie Hall, Jessica Vosk is right at home.

From the moment that it was announced that Jessica Vosk would make her solo concert debut at Carnegie Hall, it was the event of the season. No other show scheduled could possibly come close to causing the furor that came with the Vosk-Carnegie Hall proposal, and none did. For months, weeks and, eventually, days, the show being called MY GOLDEN AGE was all anyone could talk about until, finally, came the moment for which the sold-out house at the hallowed hall had waited - that moment when the double doors stage right magically opened so that this beloved artist of musical storytelling could hear the echo of applause from 2,804 people.

Review: Carnegie Hall Gets VOSK'd as Jessica Vosk Takes the Stage

Sitting in your seat at Carnegie Hall, waiting for a show to start is an experience you never quite get over, no matter how many times you do it. True to the legend, the acoustics are precise and perfect, and you can hear the gentle (or not-so-gentle) chatter of other people who are excitedly awaiting the opening strains of music. There is an option of reading your Playbill or of raising your eyes to the ceiling, the surroundings, and the sight of so many similarly minded souls who came with the same passion that you have for whatever artist is on the bill. As, one by one, the musicians take the stage, drawing you ever-closer to the start of the program, listening to the last-minute tuning of their instruments is not the same as in a Broadway theater or a concert venue - this is Carnegie Hall and the orchestra is on the stage where you can watch them at their pre-show work, work that you can hear as though you are up there with them, as the soft yellow glow of the lights illuminates the cream-colored walls and deep red of the velvet chairs. It is impossible to not think of the artists who have come before and how the performer for whom you feel a devotion so great that you would spend the kind of money it takes to sit on that red velvet will, now, grace that list. The lights dim. The overture begins. The double doors open. There is Jessica Vosk.

For two hours last night the Broadway actress and singing sensation gave her fans everything she had, only leaving the stage for mere minutes at a time to make lightning-quick costume changes while a series of special guests took immaculate care of the crowd in her place. And though Ms. Vosk has appeared on the theatrical stage, the cabaret stage, the symphony stage, and the stage set by the world of social media, one could never have supposed that she would take so well, so easily, so quickly to this rather intimidating arena. This was no singer making her Carnegie Hall debut: this was a fish being put back into water. For last night, The Vosk came home.

Review: Carnegie Hall Gets VOSK'd as Jessica Vosk Takes the Stage

The two hours of Jessica's program were taken up with music originating from Broadway and the Popular Music world, whether the popular music came by way of Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Madonna, or even the most famous Carnegie Hall alumni, Judy Garland. Spanning the decades, musically, Jessica paid tribute to the women who have inspired her to be the strong, empowered, human woman that she is today, a woman that she shared with her audience through honest (and spectacularly scripted and rehearsed) monologues that showed off many of the sides of Jessica Vosk, not the least of which are vulnerable, determined, triumphant, and funny as a rubber crutch on a banana peel. Speaking personally, my husband (who is not the musical theater aficionado that I am and was getting Vosk'd for the first time) uttered - at least seven times throughout the concert and another four on the walk home - "Oh my GOD, she's funny!" or "She should do stand-up!" He is not wrong. One of Jessica Vosk's greatest strengths lies in her natural ability to be funny; she needs no script to make you laugh, so when she has a script, it's a double whammy of doubling over, and it draws her ever-closer to your heart. Speaking about her pandemic experience, her winding road to Broadway, her love life, her formative years, and that all-important need to never stop dreaming, Jessica applied all of her storytelling to the music that so essentially nurtures her life.

As essential as the music is to her, so essential are the relationships, which is why Jessica invited best friends and industry fundamentals Marissa Rosen and Marty Thomas to join her as backup singers, jaunty movers, and a backbone of festive support, as well as her treasured chums and colleagues singer Scott Hoying, ballerina Sara Mearns, and the legendary Kristin Chenoweth, all of whom helped Vosk raise the Carnegie Hall bar to new levels. Looking like three million bucks in three different Zac Posen creations, Jessica presented her versions of Marlene Dietrich, Loretta Young, and Jean Harlow, as her fellow artists provided meticulously artistic support by way of duets to Cohen's "Hallelujah" (Hoying), Styne/Merrill's "The Music That Makes Me Dance" (Mearns), and Schwartz's "For Good" (Chenoweth). Marty and Marissa? Always there, always adorable, and always magnificent, which is what one comes to expect of The Adorables, but watching Rosen and Thomas do their best for Vosk with more pride shining from their eyes than there was light on the stage made more palpable the devotion rolling up onto the stage from the audience. Clearly, everyone loves Jessica Vosk.

Review: Carnegie Hall Gets VOSK'd as Jessica Vosk Takes the Stage

It's not about the talent, either... although there are times when Jessica Vosk sings that you find yourself wondering how a sound so beautiful, so perfect, so pure could exist in real life. You may actually feel your heart being lifted out of your chest and carried away by sheer force of nature during the Vosk performance of JRB's "Another Life" from Jessica's Broadway bow THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY. You might, very well, find that heart cleft in two by the interpretive skills in Jessica's "Back to Before" by Ahrens/Flaherty, as, hot tears running down your face, you witness musical storytelling at its very best. You could succumb to the tidal wave of talent before you as the woman you spent the last seventy minutes getting to know reveals that she isn't just a singer and an actor - she is a supremely gifted songwriter debuting her own composition "Walking In My Sleep" in a breathtaking performance featuring soulful and stunning harmonies with Rosen. You definitely would come away besotted by an epic medley of pop songs that, interspersed with monologues, chart the progression of bizarre Bear Mountain-informed first dates that led Jessica to true love. When a tearful Jessica reads a letter to her six-year-old self about staying true to herself and her dreams, the die is definitely cast. You have been Vosk'd. Yes, the Vosk talent is transparent, and ardor for the actress is in order. But it is easier to love someone when you feel love from them, and love rolls off of Jessica Vosk like the four thousand layers of material flowing from her ball gown last night. Jessica leads, at all times, with love, and it shows.

Observe the intensity of Jessica's facial expression when hugging The Lady Chenoweth. Last night's audience cheered every time that Jessica's face went over the moon from TikTok contest winner Alvis Green Jr.'s high notes. With sisterly-affection Jessica teased her magnificent Musical Director Mary Mitchell Campbell, who was the constant safety net to her high-wire act. With love she spoke of director Warren Carlyle, her family, her beau, her idols and colleagues, but with love she gave every last ounce of herself to her audience, a proclivity reminiscent of another woman who, rather famously, played Carnegie Hall...

Review: Carnegie Hall Gets VOSK'd as Jessica Vosk Takes the Stage

Sitting on the stage at the end of her concert (as Judy Garland was known to do), Jessica Vosk sang, sans mic, "Get Happy" while looking at the faces of the people sitting out front who love her, so, before whispering "Thank you" and leaving the stage. In the years to come, the people who were in that audience will remember the evening and speak of it with the same reverence to be heard in the reminiscences of audience members at Carnegie Hall on April 23rd, 1961. That is because, of all the things Judy and Jessica have in common, the most important is this: when Judy Garland stood on a stage and sang, it was as though she was singing just to you, only to you, nobody but you. That's Jessica Vosk all over the place - and last night two thousand eight hundred and four people had Jessica Vosk sing right to them, just for them, each and every one of them.

And, that, they will remember for the rest of their days.

Visit the Carnegie Hall website HERE.

THIS is the Jessica Vosk website.

Review: Carnegie Hall Gets VOSK'd as Jessica Vosk Takes the Stage

Review: Carnegie Hall Gets VOSK'd as Jessica Vosk Takes the Stage

Review: Carnegie Hall Gets VOSK'd as Jessica Vosk Takes the Stage

Review: Carnegie Hall Gets VOSK'd as Jessica Vosk Takes the Stage

The Stephen Mosher photos that appear in this article were taken only after Jessica Vosk encouraged the audience to get their phones out for the WICKED segment of the concert. It is not the policy of Broadway World Cabaret to photograph performances at Carnegie Hall.

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