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BWW Review: Singer TORY STOLPER Brings Her Original Journey to Sterling's


On Sunday October 16 at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal actress/singer Tory Stolper presented her first cabaret show Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust. Miss Stolper was the winner of LA's Next Great Stage Star 2015, and one fantastic element of this cabaret show was Stolper's inclusion of her runners-up as guest stars. Stolper's personal journey, its ups and downs so far - mostly ups, fortunately, for such a young artist - was the subject of the evening, and was a bit heavy-handed at times, but because of her beautiful singing voice and choice of music, the dark moods turned bright and quite fulfilling for the audience. The 75-minute piece was directed with fine structure by James Mellon and with always outstanding musical direction from accompanist James Lent.

Stolper began with a Peter Pan medley which included "I'm Flying", "I Gotta Crow" and "Neverland". Peter Pan was a thrilling and adventuresome character for Stolper growing up in Boston, and she always aimed to emulate him, his sense of freedom, trust and belief in the possibility of everything good.

Highlights of the evening included a deliciously comedic duet with Jotape Lockwood, a runner-up in the 2015 contest. Jotape is deliriously funny, and he and Tori blew the roof off the joint with "Anything You Can Do" from Annie Get Your Gun. Their chemistry was phenomenal. His facial expressions and rapid-fire gestures would crack up even the soberest of individuals.There was another lovely duet with pretty runner-up Kelley Dorney "Flight" by Craig Carnelia and accompanied beautifully on the violin by Nolan Livesay.

Some numbers were composed specifically for Stolper's show by friends. For example, a delightful tune about leaving the fast-paced, crazed world of the artist in LA entitled "You're Gonna Miss Me" by Segun Oluwadele had great moments of fun and fancy. Another was a more serious "Note to Self" by Nathan Furtig. This was about re-examining your life plans and changing your course for the better. Ah, self-reflection! Stolper had put cards and envelopes on every table and requested that audience members write a note to themselves, put it in the envelope, address it, and she promised to send them back in a year's time.A refreshing element showing originality and great caring support on her part! Fertig and Taylor Fugit joined Stolper on stage for a curiously intriguing "The Eye". Self-concepts change with time and "She Used To Be Mine" by Sara Bareilles was a kind reminder to re-evaluate yourself on a regular basis.

My favorite part of the evening was the inclusion of the standards all of which are nicely suited to Stolper's voice and delivery. They were Sondheim's "Move On" from Sunday in the Park with George. a gorgeous rendition of "Something Good" sung originally by Julie Andrews in the film The Sound of Music, and lastly Carole King's "Beautiful", all adding uber positive touches to Stolper's creative and personal journey thus far. She concluded as she had begun with Peter Pan, only this time with Scott Alan's lovely contemporary perspective "Never Never Land (Fly Away)".

On a deliciously amusing note, "Move On" had a last minute change. Stolper's duet partner became sick at the eleventh hour and on the recommendation of James Lent, Casey Johnson was brought in. Stolper, due to a busy schedule met him on Hollywood Boulevard that morning and they rehearsed the song for the very first time in front of a crowd of enthusiastic onlookers/tourists. What a splendiferous example of the unpredictability of show biz!

Tory Stolper is a warm and engaging performer with an extremely wonderful singing style guaranteed to engage her audience wherever she plays. That last story really proves the point. Don't miss her as her star continues to shine!

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