PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Cinderella's Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana, Rebecca Luker Pick Rodgers & Hammerstein Favorites
By Michael Gioia
Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana and Rebecca Luker, who star in the Broadway bow of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's Cinderella, pick their favorite Rodgers & Hammerstein songs as part of Playbill.com's Playbill Playlist series.
Osnes and Fontana, who were both Tony-nominated for their respective performances of Ella and Topher in Cinderella (which was also Tony-nominated for Best Revival of a Musical), are currently joined by Luker as Marie.
Luker stepped into the role of Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, Marie, the part created by Tony winner Victoria Clark, and will perform through Jan. 19, 2014. Clark is taking a temporary leave to star in Sharr White's The Snow Geese.
Cinderella has music by Rodgers, lyrics by Hammerstein II, a new book by Douglas Carter Beane and original book by Hammerstein II. The musical is directed by Mark Brokaw. Josh Rhodes is choreographer. Music adaptation, supervision and arrangements are by David Chase. Orchestrations are by Danny Troob. Andy Einhorn is music director and conductor.
Here, via email, the trio picks their five favorite songs by Rodgers & Hammerstein and tell us why they made the list.
For more information visit CinderellaOnBroadway.com.
Laura Osnes: "Some Enchanted Evening" (South Pacific). The lyrics of this song, about love at first sight, get me every time. In addition, having done South Pacific, this song will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Laura Osnes: "Wonderful Guy" (South Pacific). Likewise with this South Pacific song, I have gotten to sing it on numerous occasions, and I feel like I always find something new in it. The lyrics are clever, creative and remarkably descriptive of the whirl of emotions Nellie must be feeling!
Laura Osnes: "Do-Re-Mi" (The Sound of Music). This catchy, recognizable tune from The Sound of Music was a standard of my childhood. I mean, how else has anyone learned to sing the vocal scale?!
Laura Osnes: "Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin'" (Oklahoma!). I can't help but smile thinking about this song. The ease, the simplicity, the optimism. And, what a stunning way to open a musical... That beautiful, a-cappella voice cutting through the stillness of the Oklahoma prairie.
Laura Osnes: "Ten Minutes Ago" (Cinderella). Okay, I'm a sucker for love songs! Rodgers & Hammerstein have written some of the most beautiful ones, and this is at the top of my list... "I have found her, she's an angel with the dust of the stars in her eyes." I mean, c'mon!
Rebecca Luker: "It Might as Well Be Spring" (State Fair). Here's the perfect marriage of music and lyrics. I love the slightly melancholy nature of this beautiful song, mixed with the clever descriptions of spring. The lyric "But I feel so gay in a melancholy way, that it might as well be spring" pretty much sums it up.
Rebecca Luker: "Something Wonderful" (The King and I). This song, sung by Lady Thiang in the show is the most gorgeous ballad. It's not as well known as say "Hello Young Lovers," another beautiful song from The King and I, but it's full of emotion. The lyrics could be about any man that any woman loves, but Lady Thiang just happens to be singing about the King of Siam. As the song says, it's "something wonderful."
Rebecca Luker: "The Gentleman is a Dope" (Allegro). I think this is a rare song for Rodgers & Hammerstein. It's bluesy and jazzy. I'm drawn to this colorful character — this down-on-her-luck gal, who's in love with a man who's not available. She loves him, and she hates him. My favorite lyric from the song: "The gentleman isn't bright. He doesn't know the score. A cake will come, he'll take a crumb and never ask for more." Fantastic!
Rebecca Luker: "What's the Use of Wond'rin'" (Carousel). The story of Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow just makes me weep. It's an epic tragedy. You see Julie going down the wrong path; falling in love with a man who beats her. I'm torn about this show because it could be seen as condoning wife-beating. But I think, instead, Rodgers & Hammerstein were simply delving into the psyche of this lonely, delicate, yet fiercely loyal woman. Here's how Julie puts it: "What's the use of wond'rin' if the ending will be sad? He's your fella and you love him. There's nothin' more to say."
Rebecca Luker: "The Hills Are Alive" (The Sound of Music). I got to sing this on Broadway every night in the revival of The Sound Of Music. I'd run down a ramp and twirl around just like Julie Andrews in the Alps. It was wonderful and a little scary to sing this very famous song.
Santino Fontana: "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" (Ray Charles version). …Because he sounds incredible, and I love that arrangement.
Santino Fontana: "Soliloquy" (Carousel). John Raitt singing "Soliloquy" [is] pretty epic and awesome.
Santino Fontana: "If I Loved You" (Carousel). Any recording.
Santino Fontana: "My Favorite Things" (The Sound of Music). I am partial to Will Ferrell playing Robert Goulet singing "My Favorite Things" on "Conan" a long time ago.
Santino Fontana: "I Have Dreamed" (The King and I). Sinatra singing "I Have Dreamed" from his live "Sinatra at the Sands" album…
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