BWW Review: MEGAN HILTY at Straz Center For The Performing Arts /Tampa

BWW Review: MEGAN HILTY at Straz Center For The Performing Arts /Tampa

If this is all you read, this is all you need to know. Stop what you are doing and get tickets to Megan Hilty's one-woman cabaret.

Known for her eclectic roles on Broadway as Glinda in Wicked, opposite Idina Menzel and as Doralee in 9 to 5 The Musical, Megan has made guest appearances on many television shows, including Bones, The Closer, Desperate Housewives, Sean Saves the World and Ugly Betty. Ms Hilty was also the pipes behind the singing voice of "Snow White" in Shrek the Third, the "China Doll Princess" in the animated feature Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return and the voice of "Rosetta" in the Disney Fairies series.

You have seen her play iconic characters on the stage, screen and TV. You have heard that awesome voice give life to numerous animated characters. And now you have the chance to see her being...Megan Hilty!

Imagine no character portrayal; no lavish costuming, no facial masking or rehearsed physical attributes. Just Megan being Megan. Megan performing just for you. That is the heart of cabaret. It's intimate, inspiring and touching. It's why I love this art form so much. But very few performers can pull this off. Ms Hilty is one of the Queens who dominate this artistry with the raw talent of just being herself.

It didn't take but a few notes being played by her musical director/accompanist Matt Cusson, for her fans to recognize and cheer on the first song of the show, "They Just Keep Moving The Line", from the TV drama Smash, in which Megan starred as Marilyn Monroe-ish Ivy Lynn. Megan gifted us with another glorious song from Smash, the heartwarming, heart-wrenching "Second Hand White Baby Grand". She stopped to pay tribute to award winning collaborators Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, mega-talents in their own right, who wrote wonderfully compelling songs each week for Smash. Continuing to channel in Marilyn Monroe, Ms Hilty delivered a delicious rendition of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes". Megan easily slipped between the sultry songstress that she is to her down-to-earth self, telling jokes about herself and her career. Her curves in a sparkling dress, blonde tresses and ultra- high heels brought Marilyn to life but also let us see a side of Megan we don't get to see when she is in character. Megan being Megan is flirty, friendly, and a lot of fun.

Ms Hilty is quick to give others credit who have helped and encouraged her along the way. One touching story she told was about her debut on Broadway the night she first went on as Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked opposite superstar Idina Menzel. Megan was replacing Kristin Chenoweth who had been in the role since inception. Idina came to Megan's dressing room and asked her if there were any questions she had or anything she needed. Megan said Idina had the right to give her direction and take control, but instead Ms Menzel told her to just go out and have fun and make it their own. With that we got to hear "Popular", Glinda's big solo number in Wicked. Not a dry eye in the house could be found when another Wicked favorite echoed through the hall, the iconic "For Good". Very haunting in a very comforting way, with just Megan and a piano. Wow.

Continuing to honor her distinguished roles on Broadway, Miss Doralee from 9 to 5: The Musical showed up and if you closed your eyes you'd swear that was Dolly Parton singing. This got several ooohs and ahhhs from the audience who was quite surprised that she sounded exactly like Dolly. Megan said she asked Dolly for some pointers when she was cast in 9 to 5 to play Dolly on Broadway. Dolly told her she was doing just fine.

Megan got a standing ovation in the middle of her show for the classic, "There's No Business Like Show Business" and a raucous rendition of Zina Goldrich's "Alto's Lament", about the quest of an soprano who gets to sing in all the Broadway shows, but is always cast as an alto and so wants to sing the melody for a change, as a soprano. The song is fast and witty and Megan delivered it like a champ hitting the highest C that we were sure busted a few stage lights, a chandelier and a guy's glasses sitting in the first row.

Megan's musical director/accompanist, handsome Matt Cusson not only tickled the ivories so elegantly but also is an acclaimed singer with a self titled album. His voice compliments hers so beautifully throughout the program. Their interaction is fun between each other and with the audience. I won't go over the full set list with you - you really have to see this show for yourself.

Nearing the end of the concert Megan joked with the audience, "since we are now all friends", that she was going to sing the last song, pretend to exit, come back surprised and sing another song, just so we knew what the plan was and didn't feel awkward about staying or leaving or waiting to see if she would return for an encore. That got a huge laugh from the crowd. How many times have we all wondered at the end of a show, is this the end of the show? Should we leave? Maybe we should wait. When it was her final song, while we gave her yet another well-deserved standing ovation, she drew her finger across her throat letting us know the show really was over. This made for a fun conversation on the way out of the theater between strangers who were brought together by the talent, humor and ambiance that only Megan Hilty can exude.

I do want to add that as the concert ended, a "wicked" storm came over the venue. Torrential rain and winds made everyone soaking wet, but that didn't stop a good 100 of her fans of all ages from waiting by the stage door in the storm. She graciously met each and every one. That says a lot about a performer who has just given so much on stage yet continues to give on a one-to-one basis meeting fans. Megan Hilty is pure class.

Ms Hilty and her husband Brian Gallagher have 2 children. She maintains an active concert schedule, both with symphony orchestras throughout the United States and in solo concerts at smaller venues.

For more information on upcoming shows at the Straz Tampa visit,

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From This Author Carolan Trbovich

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