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Feature: Elizabeth Ward Land Will Sing The Songs Of Linda Ronstadt at Music Theatre of Connecticut

One night only to see critically acclaimed vocalist Elizabeth Ward Land!

Feature: Elizabeth Ward Land Will Sing The Songs Of Linda Ronstadt at Music Theatre of Connecticut

Inflation much? How about getting two shows in one? Acclaimed vocalist Elizabeth Ward Land will delight audiences with songs from her award-winning album, Still Within the Sound of My Voice: The Songs of Linda Ronstadt. "You'll get to know me more and be appreciative of Linda Ronstadt," promises Land.

And you will want to know more about the legendary Ronstadt and Land, both of whom have had remarkable careers. Land has done an amazing variety of work including theater, concerts, movies, television, audio, and voiceovers on video games. But with this album and concert, she gets to explore both herself and her subject. "I was drawn to Linda Ronstadt because of her versatility," she said. "I looked back at [songs]...and one theme that kept popping up in every single category was Linda Ronstadt. The more I [delved in], I realized we had a lot in common. This is the soundtrack of my life." For the record, both Land and Ronstadt played the role of Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance.

Although Land didn't see it initially, she recalls, "but all the songs have some resonance of her life." Ronstadt is a generation ahead of Land, but her music is still so distinctive and compelling after all these decades. She talks about Ronstadt's degenerative condition, first diagnosed as Parkinson's disease, but later as progressive supranuclear palsy, that forced her into retirement in 2011. As a vocalist, Land can understand the devastation of a condition such as this. The vocal cords are a muscle, Land notes, and that's where Ronstadt "really felt it. I was inspired [by] how she dealt with it....Where do you find yourself? Who are you with that?" Ronstadt had worked with outreach programs in Arizona, New Mexico, and the music community, Land notes. "There's a frankness and variety about her. It colored how she dealt with her illness."

You can return to the Music Theatre of Connecticut in September to see Land as "Norma Desmond" in Sunset Boulevard. This might be Land's most challenging role because "there is a lot of singing. You have to cry. You have to scream." And Land gets to wear great clothes. After all, Norma Desmond had very high standards. No doubt, Land will master the role. She thought doing Kiss Me Kate was a challenge because of the singing, Shakespeare, and physicality of the show. Land was prepared, thanks to her vast experience doing tours and Broadway shows. Her first big break was as "Fantine" in the first touring company of Les Miserables. One of her fellow castmates recommended her and her audition song was "I Dreamed a Dream." She was immediately offered a job. That's a dream come true. Later casting director Andy Zerman cast her in City of Angels, Land's first Broadway show.

Land says, "I always had a lot of versatility in my singing," but her career is "peppered with a lot of" straight plays as well as musicals. "I love being a storyteller," she said. She appeared in the original casts of Amazing Grace (as Mrs. Catlett), Scandalous (as Louella Parsons), The Scarlet Pimpernel (as Marie in three versions), Memphis, and Passion. Recently she finished a run in Sarah Silverman's Off-Broadway musical The Bedwetter. She has appeared in other Off-Broadway shows and with numerous regional theaters including Connecticut's Goodspeed Opera House. She also performed in The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber with Michael Crawford.

Are there still other roles she would still like to play? "I don't know," she says. "As I grow older, there are fewer parts." She'd like to do Driving Miss Daisy when she's much older. She was offered Light in the Piazza but had to pull out of it because she was offered a bigger job. "Singing is very different as you age," she observes. As far as a role she would like to play, she says, "Maybe it's a role I don't know." And the role she would most like to be remembered for? "Maybe it hasn't been written yet."

There's no doubt Land has a strong and varied career ahead. When not performing, she stays busy with teaching, running, and knitting. In the meantime, Connecticut residents are lucky they can soon see Land in two completely different productions within two months.

Still Within the Sound of My Voice is on Saturday, August 6 at 8:00 at Music Theatre of Connecticut and from August 31 through September 3 at Paper Mill Playhouse's Brookside Cabaret Series in Millburn, NJ. Sunset Boulevard runs from September 16 through October 2 at Music Theatre of Connecticut, 509 Westport Avenue in Norwalk. MTC is the premier provider of professional musical theatre performance and training. Founded in 1987, it offers Actors Equity productions featuring seasoned New York professionals on its MainStage venue. It also has numerous annual student productions and a conservator-style School of Performing Arts. For tickets, call (203) 454-3883 or book them online at www.musictheatreofct.com. Also visit www.elizabethwardland.com and follow her on Instagram @ elizabethwardland.




From This Author - Sherry Shameer Cohen

Sherry Shameer Cohen is an award winning parachute journalist and blogger who is always looking for more challenging work. Her articles and photos have appeared in Connecticut Magazine, Greenwich Magazine,... (read more about this author)


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