BWW Reviews: Melody Hollis Rocks Sterling's Once More with Melodyland


On Sunday April 29 Melody Hollis presented the new installment of Melodyland at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal. Incorporating some different songs into the set like "I'm the Greatest Star", "Tchaikovsky", "You've Got a Friend in Me", "Hamlet" and a couple of others, material she has performed in Kritzerland shows since last summer, Hollis has turned 14 since she last did the show ...and is now a self-described "woman". In spite of this humorous, laugh-guaranteed joke of the grownup fully emerging from the little girl, one can clearly see the changes in physical development and at the same time sense the increased sense of self-awareness and freedom. She is taller, prettier and blossoming nicely into an intelligent young lady - and who says 'home schooling' doesn't work? Bruce Kimmel has written some very cute material for her, and she is learning how to make it work optimally. As she continues to blossom and grow over the next few years, Hollis' vocal instrument, considering her immense talent, should mature beautifully. And maybe, just maybe, if luck will have it...she might just get that chance to sing "I'm the Greatest Star" on Broadway as the newest Fanny Brice in that still awaited, much anticipated, first ever revival of Funny Girl. She can do it! I know I have my fingers crossed for her!

(Here's the complete review of the show when it was first presented last August):

On Wednesday August 10 thirteen year-old triple threat performer Melody Hollis debuted her one-woman show Melodyland @ Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's to a packed house of enthusiastic fans. Produced and directed by Bruce KimmelMelodyland is perhaps the only cabaret show for a talented young lady ... that young. However, it's a great idea for such an amazing talent. Hollis can not only sing, dance and patter with the best of them, but she has a certainsavoir faire and wisdom that go far beyond her years. And she understands the meaning behind the lyrics of the songs she sings. Not easy, considering she sang Stephen Sondheim's "Children Will Listen" - has a child ever sung this before? - and an expert rendition of Kander & Ebb's "A Quiet Thing". Usually reserved for older people, who have had more experience with love and life, these songs require a rich understanding and interpretation, which, somehow, Hollis was able to supply. Her voice with time will be richer and more beautiful, so I can only imagine how dreamlike these will sound then. It doesn't hurt that your musical director is also your father - the wonderful Steve Hollis, giving the impression that Melody has been superbly trained and nurtured for seven years in the world of musical theatre.

Highlights of the evening included a song written especially for her by Bruce Kimmel: her opening number "Melodyland", which along with "Born to Entertain" from Ruthless really hit the mark, setting the tone for the 60-minute set. From Disney films there was "Part of Your World", as she has longed to play the little mermaid Ariel, a delightful Shermanized Medley of The Sherman Brothers songs: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from Mary Poppins, "Fortuosity" from The Happiest Millionaire and "Gratifaction" from Tom Sawyer and, as encore, the always engaging "When You Wish Upon a Star". From Broadway there were two tunes from White Christmas: "Let Me Sing and I'm Happy", which she actually sang in the New York show and "Love You Done Me Wrong", which she was too young to sing, but now "This is my show!" She also provided the ever optimistic "Tomorrow" from Annie, which she recently essayed at MTW (Musical Theatre West).

Other memorable moments included: "I Wanna Be a Rockette", Sondheim's comic "The Boy From" - again too advanced for her years but she handled it sublimely - a Rhythm Medley with "I Got Rhythm" and "Fascinatin' Rhythm" and a divaish "Hit Me With a Hot Note".

To say that in ten years time if Melody Hollis keeps singing, dancing and acting, she will be an incredible performer is truly an understatement. Her talent is unlimited and I predict great things for her. Brava! 


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From This Author Don Grigware

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