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BWW Review: Alice Ripley Performs “Songs Under An Evening Sky” Concert at Holmdel Theatre Company

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The concert will be live streamed on BroadwayWorld on November 16!

BWW Review: Alice Ripley Performs “Songs Under An Evening Sky” Concert at Holmdel Theatre CompanyOn a brisk fall night with the backdrop of a white barn, guests brought their chairs to a socially-distanced lawn, awaiting Tony Award winner Alice Ripley. She returned to Holmdel Theatre Company for the third time on October 24 to perform "Songs Under An Evening Sky," an outdoor concert part of the "Broadway at the Barn" series, normally performed inside the Duncan Smith Theater, which Ripley kicked off in June 2019.

Alice Ripley earned critical acclaim and won the Best Actress in a Musical Tony and Helen Hayes awards for her work as Diana Goodman in the Pulitzer Prize-winning rock opera, Next to Normal. Ms. Ripley received Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for her work as conjoined twin Violet Hilton in the cult hit, Side Show, and has been a part of seven original Broadway casts. Alice starred in the one woman off-Broadway play Pink Unicorn on three different stages with Out of the Box Theatrics - including at the Duncan Smith Theater in Holmdel. Film and television credits include Kathleen, Sophia's mother, on GIRLBOSS (Netflix), Leslie in the award-winning indie musical movie, SUGAR!, Bear With Us, The Way I Remember It, Muckland, Sing Along, Isn't It Delicious, The Adulterer, 30 Rock, Blue Bloods and Hee Haw. a?? Ripley is an accomplished musician and has written and produced her own music. Recordings include "Daily Practice: Vol 1," "Outtasite," "RIPLEY EP," and "Everything's Fine," as well as numerous Broadway cast and compilation albums. Alice sells her original digital art as designs on garments and household items. Alice Ripley's 2019 Ted Talk is called 'Magic Takes Time'.

There was an opening act featuring George Lazarou, a Holmdel football coach. Executive Director Colleen Cook was excited to have him perform and mentioned that he represented two of her favorite things: Broadway and football. Lazarou played a few songs on his guitar, including Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road." He had a Rob Thomas country-rock vibe to him, which the crowd seemed to enjoy.

Alice Ripley arrived on stage shortly after Lazarou's set was over. When Colleen Cook introduced her, she quoted Next to Normal composer Tom Kitt by saying she had a "stop everything you're doing" voice. Ripley wore a leather jacket and 80's jeans, which she poked fun at. As she greeted the audience, she hoped that this show would make everyone forget about what is going on in the world, describing the year 2020 as "a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck." Ripley started off her concert with a song she is most popular for, "I Miss The Mountains" from Next to Normal. Any fan of Next to Normal or musical theater in general was in for a treat because Ripley put her all into this song and gave the fans exactly what they wanted. It was a privilege to see the original Diana in Next to Normal sing this song live. She segued right into "You Learn To Live Without" from the musical If/Then. Ripley gave a heartfelt shout out to Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, the composers of both Next to Normal and If/Then, reminding the audience that their music tells a story.

Ripley continued with her Broadway roots singing the Judy Garland song, "Hello Bluebird." Ripley had a lot of fun with this song, dancing around and using her amazing vocal abilities with a belt at the end. She dedicated a James Taylor song called "You and I Again" to her brother and his wife, which had a calmer tone to it, followed by "Ready To Take A Chance Again" by Barry Manilow. Afterward, she sang a song by her favorite songwriter, Brian Wilson from his Pet Sounds album titled "Don't Talk." Ripley admired his songwriting abilities because he has a clever way of writing his songs such as using the words close and close next to each other in this one specifically. She was emotional during this song, and even shed a tear.

Two ballads followed, including "All My Life" by Karla Bonoff, and "Send Me A Song," by Celtic Woman, which she made into her own. Ripley's powerhouse voice and passion showed while singing the next song, "The Moon's A Harsh Mistress" by Jimmy Webb. Her last song, "The Blessing" was dedicated to the audience, and felt like she was singing to each person individually. It was a great way to end the night.

Ripley thanked the audience multiple times and gave additional credit to Colleen Cook for suggesting she return to Holmdel Theatre Company, photographer and videographer Michael Kushner, makeup artist Tina Scariano, and the entire Holmdel Theatre community. If you walked into this concert loving Alice Ripley, it was very likely that you would love her even more after seeing her perform. She was extremely grateful to be there and took in every second of her time up on stage. Ripley is not only a talented performer, but also a genuine, funny, and incredible person.

Ripley also writes and produces her own music, as well as performing on Broadway. Along with recording the live concert that occurred on October 24, an intimate, acoustic session of her original songs was filmed inside the Duncan Smith Theater after the concert with no audience. The songs that will be featured are: "When I Am Olde," "She Keeps her Love Away," "Violet Tree" and "Romeo." The footage will be released exclusively as part of a live stream premiere on Monday, Nov 16th at 7pm right here on BroadwayWorld.com for those who missed the concert. You can purchase tickets by visiting: https://events.broadwayworld.com/event/alice-ripley-songs-under-an-evening-sky-11-16-7-pm-et/.

To keep up with Alice, you can follow her on Twitter @ripleytheband, or visit her website at www.aliceripley.com.

Holmdel Theatre Company is located at 36 Crawfords Corner Road in Holmdel, NJ. For more information on other upcoming events, you can follow them on Twitter @RealHTC, Instagram @holmdeltheatrecompany, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/holmdeltheatrecompany.

Photo Credit: Michael Kushner


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