Review: Andrea McArdle Tells the Tale of a Broadway Baby at 54 Below

The songstress showed she still has those Broadway chops

By: Mar. 30, 2024
Review: Andrea McArdle Tells the Tale of a Broadway Baby at 54 Below
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Forever remembered as the Depression-era orphan tyke who stole the audience's heart in the Broadway show Annie back in 1977, Andrea McArdle showed she still has those Broadway chops.  Shining like a beacon, the songstress wowed the crowd at CONFESSIONS OF A BROADWAY BABY on March 29, 2024 at 54 Below.

Playing to a packed house, the red-haired singing powerhouse emerged in a black dress with a colorful swath of gold and white with black stiletto-heeled boots.  Beginning with belting renditions of “There’s No Business Like Show Business”(Annie Get Your Gun) and “Maybe” (Annie) the rapt audience started applauding loudly.   

Accompanied by a slideshow of photos of her childhood on the Broadway stage, McArdle told the tale of her 1970’s childhood in Northeast Philadelphia and how through her parents love of music, her own grit and determination as well as her father’s job at Amtrak, she was given the chance to become that broadway baby of her dreams. McArdle, who was the youngest performer to ever be nominated for a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical, admitted to the astonished audience that  Annie was her first ever audition for a Broadway show.  Yes folks, she made her starring Broadway debut at the tender age of 13 years old!  Another backstage tidbit revealed was that the beloved dog Sandy, was a rescue dog they bought for the show - well, this was 1977 after all.  

  After her meteoric rise to fame in Annie, McArdle then turned her attention to work on the 1978 film, Rainbow, about the early life of Judy Garland.  Learning from Garland’s musical accompanist for the film, Andrea McArdle treated the theatergoers to her own resounding renditions of  “The Trolley Song” (Meet Me in St. Louis) and “Over The Rainbow” (The Wizard of Oz).  Ironically, it was here that McArdle proudly announced from the stage that she and Judy Garland’s daughter, Lorna Luft (who happened to be in the audience) were going to be in a new show together aptly titled Two of A Kind.  What an amazing duo! This reviewer will definitely be the first one in line for that ticket!!

Andrea McArdle continued her trip through her life on Broadway and the amusing and sometimes serious  anecdotes from the celebs she encountered along the way.  Working with Carol Channing on the show, Jerry’s Girls, it was the divine Ms. Channing who drawled in that all too familiar voice that McArdle should be proud rather than annoyed that she has “Tomorrow” as her signature song - many musical singers never get a song so deeply associated with them.  In tribute to Channing, the sonorous McArdle crooned “Before The Parade Passes By” (Hello Dolly).  From State Fair, to Les Miserables and even Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Andrea McArdle has done it all.  Not bad for a kid from Philly!  

When at last the night was done, Andrea McArdle gave us what we all desired: she sang her iconic signature song (thank you Carol Channing), “Tomorrow.”   Yes, folks, it is the same immense and booming voice as that of her younger self, who in 1977 promised us  “the sun will come out tomorrow. . . ” but this time without Sandy the dog by her side. This reviewer, along with the rest of those in the audience, was completely overwhelmed. Thank you, Andrea McArdle, and I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings in the next act of your career.

Andrea McArdle: CONFESSIONS OF A BROADWAY BABY featured the incomparable Andrea McArdle and her musical director, Steve Marzullo.

There is one more performance of CONFESSIONS OF A BROADWAY BABY tonight at 7 pm. Tickets are available here.

Find great shows to see on the 54 Below website here.