Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: JUST ONE LOOK: THE SONGS OF LINDA RONSTADT. Travis Moser Salutes the Legendary Rocker at The Green Room 42

Travis Moser's loving tribute to Linda Ronstadt is a Rocking Good Time

BWW Review: JUST ONE LOOK: THE SONGS OF LINDA RONSTADT. Travis Moser Salutes the Legendary Rocker at The Green Room 42

I saw Linda Ronstadt for the first time sometime around the bicentennial when I was twelve years old. She was a frequent guest on Don Kirshner's "Midnight Special." This small woman in a black leather coat came out looking very shy and vulnerable. She opened her mouth and began to sing "You're No Good." All that vulnerability flew out the window and she became this strong, determined badass, who not only stood up for herself but for women everywhere. That was, and is, the magic of Linda Ronstadt. She is able to morph into whatever the song requires her to be, no matter what the style is. It's something alchemical.

It is a bold thing to set out to do a show that pays honor to Linda Ronstadt. Not only do you have to wade through hundreds of songs and dozens of hits. You also have to deal with a plethora of styles: rock, country, punk, big band, Broadway, bluegrass, mariachi, and pop; all of which she performed as if she was born doing it. She was one of the seminal women of rock and roll, a trailblazer who always followed the art and her heart.

But that is precisely the task singer Travis Moser sets for himself. The result is his show JUST ONE LOOK: THE SONGS OF Linda Ronstadt, which opened tonight at The Green Room 42. Mr. Moser is too young to have caught Ronstadt on the "Midnight Special," but his show is a very loving and passionate travelogue of most of the phases of her long and illustrious career. He doesn't attempt to imitate her phrasing or duplicate her riffs. Instead, he tells stories about her and talks about what her music has meant in his life, filtering it through his own style.

And his style is full-throated, full-vibrato musical theatre. Which is great since that was also one of Ms. Ronstadt's signature styles. To fill out some of the other colors in her extensive arsenal, Moser enlists the help of a few friends. Obie Award winner, Elijah Caldwell (A Strange Loop) gave us rock & pop Linda with "When Will I Be Loved?" and " I Don't Know Much." Bistro Award winner Jack Bartholet served up country and R&B Linda singing "Colorado" and "Tracks of My Tears." And Broadway World Cabaret Award nominee, Lillian Andrea De Leon gave us punk and bluegrass Linda with "How Do I Make You?" and "Blue Bayou," which she made all the more special by singing the second verse in Spanish.

Travis Moser himself is a gifted storyteller as well as an excellent vocalist, as he proved many times in the evening. Most notably in "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress. It is a very poetic lyric that he delivered with great emotion. He was also particularly effective in Jimmy Webb's "Still Within the Sound of My Voice," which opened this show. He found wistful energy in "Adios" and brought some world-weariness to "I'm Blowing Away." I especially enjoyed his reading of "What'll I Do?," the Irving Berlin tune from Ronstadt's popular "What's New?" album.

The only slight misstep in the evening might have been the choice to include Sondheim's "What Can You Lose?" He sang it to promote the album of Sondheim tunes he released during the pandemic with musical director, Drew Wutke, (Kinky Boots) who also did the fine arrangements for this show and skillfully conducted the 5-piece band. Although it's a glorious song, it has no connection to Ronstadt, so they performed it in a country style like Linda Ronstadt. The two are not an easy mix. But as I said, it was only a slight misstep. He quickly returned to core Ronstadt territory with a great rendition of "Desperado" and then did a charming audience sing-along to "Somewhere Out There," even passing out song sheets himself. It was a lovely ending to a lovely show that showcased Linda Ronstadt and Travis Moser in equal measure.

Although Linda Ronstadt is no longer recording, her voice is never in the past tense in my home. It makes me happy to know other people feel the same way I do. Thank you, Travis Moser, for that.

To read about everything Travis Moser is up to, go to travismoser.com or find him @TJMoser on Twitter or @travjames on Instagram. Travis Moser and Drew Wutke's album SO MANY PEOPLE: THE SONDHEIM SESSIONS is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and all other streaming platforms. To enjoy more great artists at The Green Room 42, visit greenfignyc.com.


Join Team BroadwayWorld

Are you an avid Cabaret fan in NYC? We're looking for people like you to share your thoughts and insights with our readers. Team BroadwayWorld members get access to shows to review, conduct interviews with artists, and the opportunity to meet and network with fellow theatre lovers and arts workers.

Interested? Learn more here.





From This Author - Ricky Pope

Ricky Pope is a very busy actor/musical director/vocal coach who has toured the country with the national tours of ANNIE, ALL SHOOK UP AND TITANIC. He has worked in regional theatres in 49 states in... (read more about this author)


BWW Review: TORI SCOTT Leaves It All on the Stage in JETLAGGED at Joe's PubBWW Review: TORI SCOTT Leaves It All on the Stage in JETLAGGED at Joe's Pub
March 31, 2022

There is a phenomenon that occurs at Joe’s pub sometimes. Once in a while, you feel a little tremor underneath the seats while you’re watching a show like you’re experiencing a small earthquake. It’s attributable to the 6 train that runs directly below the Public Theatre on Lafayette Street. However last night, the tremor that was felt was completely due to the act onstage. Tori Scott was in complete command of the room, a room packed with fans there to celebrate her return to Joe’s Pub after a 2-year absence. For ten years she has been making appearances at the downtown cabaret and has developed a sizeable following. If her show, TORI SCOTT: JETLAGGED is any indication, it’s no wonder she has such devoted followers.

BWW Review: CHEEYANG NG is an Artist on the Rise at Feinstein's 54 BelowBWW Review: CHEEYANG NG is an Artist on the Rise at Feinstein's 54 Below
March 21, 2022

Cheeyang Ng is an impressive human. They are celebrating nearly a decade as a resident of New York. The native of Singapore came here, as they said to escape some traditions and find a truer, more authentic version of themself. That journey is reflected in many of their songs, which focus on the joys and the uncertainty of being in unfamiliar territory, whether it be relationships or career ambitions of just self-actualization. They seem drawn to examining the multitude of thoughts and feelings that occur in a split second of actual time. In short, Cheeyang Ng writes about the active mind.

BWW Review: BETTY BUCKLEY & FRIENDS Deliver a Beautifully Thoughtful Evening at Joe's PubBWW Review: BETTY BUCKLEY & FRIENDS Deliver a Beautifully Thoughtful Evening at Joe's Pub
March 19, 2022

Betty Buckley is in great form. Her control over her instrument is remarkable, singing soft and gently, making her audience wait for the clarion tones that are her trademark. But when it’s time to belt, she delivers. She is masterful at creating musical monologues. For all her musical gifts you never forget that you are watching a great actress at work.

BWW Interview: Broadway Veteran Liz Callaway of TO STEVE, WITH LOVE at Feinstein's 54 Below Talks Sondheim and MoreBWW Interview: Broadway Veteran Liz Callaway of TO STEVE, WITH LOVE at Feinstein's 54 Below Talks Sondheim and More
March 17, 2022

At every point of her career, Liz Callaway has been closely associated with the work of Stephen Sondheim. Her Broadway debut was in Merrily We Roll Along, which despite its sadly brief run has gone on to be the ultimate cult musical. Along with Merrily co-star, Jim Walton, she sang excerpts of Sondheim’s work when he appeared on Bravo’s Inside the Actors Studio. She has also appeared in a number of Sondheim tributes including You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow and the much-heralded concert of Follies in which she played Young Sally. This month, Liz Callaway pays tribute to the recently departed maestro in a very personal evening entitled TO STEVE, WITH LOVE which will premiere at Feinstein’s 54 Below on March 23. I had the pleasure of talking to Ms. Callaway about the show and her body of work with Stephen Sondheim.

BWW Review: NY Pops Enchants With GET HAPPY: THE NELSON RIDDLE SOUND at Carnegie HallBWW Review: NY Pops Enchants With GET HAPPY: THE NELSON RIDDLE SOUND at Carnegie Hall
March 17, 2022

Nelson Riddle, the legendary arranger/orchestrator/composer is largely responsible for what we think of as the sound of The Great American Songbook. His arrangements and orchestrations for artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole Dean Martin, Judy Garland, Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney, and Doris Day, created for the Capitol label defined the sound of the 40s, 50s, and 60s. He is responsible for resuscitating Sinatra’s career and turning him into the legend he became. Riddle is the creator of the “Rat Pack” sound, composing scores for Robin and the Seven Hoods and Ocean’s 11 among dozens of other films. He won an Oscar for the score of 1974’s The Great Gatsby in addition to 3 Grammy awards, two of them for his album collaborations with Linda Ronstadt that revived his extraordinary career shortly before his death in 1985. It’s hard to overestimate his importance to American popular music.