PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Sierra Boggess Shares Her Favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber Songs
By Adam Hetrick
Sierra Boggess, who has played Christine Daae in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals The Phantom of the Opera and its sequel Love Never Dies, is making her New York City cabaret debut this month at 54 Below with performances on Aug. 19 and Aug. 26.
Boggess, who has also appeared on Broadway in Master Class and The Little Mermaid, shares her favorite Lloyd Webber songs with Playbill.com for this week's Playbill Playlist.
Read Playbill.com's coverage of Boggess' cabaret debut, which offers audiences material ranging from La Boheme, to The Sound of Music, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, standards such as "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" and more. Visit 54Below.com for tickets.
Click through to check out Boggess' picks.
"Let Me Hear You Sing" from Love Never Dies. Yes, I'm starting RIGHT IN with my favorite song from Love Never Dies. Most people know "Till I Hear You Sing," which is the Phantom's first song in the show, but this is the reprise in the second act that I find so haunting and passionate. And on a personal note, every night Ramin Karimloo (as Phantom) sang this to me onstage, it took me on an intense emotional journey as Christine which then put me in the place I needed to be to sing "Love Never Dies."
"As If We Never Said Goodbye" from Sunset Boulevard (as sung by Barbra Streisand). This is my very first ALW show and this song killed me! I remember seeing Linda Balgord as Norma when the tour came through Denver. I was about 15 years old and I can STILL see her emoting through this song as the spotlight hit her in this moment! The melody takes me on SUCH a journey!! And of course my all time favorite version is when Barbra Streisand opened her 1994 concert with this song... "Now I'm standing centre stage, I've come home at last!!!!!" – and the entire audience stood up in the middle of the song and cheered! OK, moving on! I'm verklemt!
"Rainbow High" from Evita. I LOVE the way this song builds. When I teach masterclasses, I use Patti LuPone's version of this from "The Merv Griffin Show" as an example of complete fearlessness and passion!! And the way Andrew reminds us of Buenos Aires again! It's a genius thing to do, especially at THIS point in Eva's story.
"Music of the Night" from The Phantom of the Opera. I have such memories of listening to Michael Crawford sing this song as I would be driving with my dad and we would be blasting it from the cassette tape! Ha! (And trying to hold the end note out as long as he did! I still can't do that!) I find this song so incredibly sensual, and it is my favorite part in the show to perform as well. I can just allow myself as Christine to get wrapped up in the lyrical lines and feel his passion through the orchestrations as well... "Floating, falling, sweet intoxication" Sighhhhhh....
"Twisted Every Way" from Phantom of the Opera. While I'm on the subject of Phantom... This is my favorite song to sing in the show. When Raoul sings the line, "You said yourself he was nothing but a man, yet while he lives he will haunt us til we're dead." It's such a gorgeous, simple and gentle melody - almost like a lullaby and yet he's not even close to being on the same page with Christine – offering her no support... And then she begins "Twisted Every Way" with such a sadness and turmoil, yet the melody is calm, melodic, unwavering and continuous to reflect her thoughts. It's the PERFECT reflection through MELODY of where she is at in that moment.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber Love Trio ("Love Changes Everything," "Unexpected Song," "I Don't Know How to Love Him") with Audra McDonald, Marin Mazzie and Judy Kuhn. When this trio came out on CD I played it probably everyday of my college years. I am OBSESSED with it! Three of the most awesome love songs ever written, and cleverly and beautifully arranged with three amazing women. Who knew these songs mix so well together? Well, there's one thing we can agree on, ALW knows how to write an awesome love song. My favorite moment in this trio is how Audra sings, "Love bursts in and SUDDENLY." Just do yourself a favor and listen to that moment. And then smile and go about your day knowing "Love will never ever let you BE THE SAME!!!!!"
"Gethsemane" from Jesus Christ Superstar. Only Andrew could ever musicalize how Jesus Christ might be feeling before he knows he is going to be crucified. And this song is it. The thing about Andrew, is that he requires his singers to stretch their vocal abilities to the limit, BECAUSE the emotion calls for it. "I have to know, I have to know my God" feels to me like the rumbling before the storm REALLY hits, and then the absolute WAIL of fear and anger and pain "WHYYYYYYYY"! It's musical genius.
"Beneath a Moonless Sky/Once Upon Another Time" from Love Never Dies. These two duets go back to back in Love Never Dies, and I have such fond memories of recording them in the studio with Andrew and Ramin. This song occurs when Phantom and Christine lay eyes on each other for the first time in ten years. When Christine finally speaks (through song) and sings gently at first, "I should have known that you'd be here," and then nearly breaks down, "How dare you try and claim me now" – and then they just tumble over one another through melody describing what their love was like... Gahh!! It's musically so passionate and it is perfectly written to feel as if they still cannot get enough of each other. Melody over melody. Ramin and I were recording this song in separate countries, he in London and I in NYC, and the take we finally used was when they flew me to the recording studio in London - we were in the same booth and could look at each other sing and feel the energy in the same room. When we finished that take Andrew and Nigel Wright said, "That's the one!" There was no question, the passion of this song and being able to have Christine and Phantom in the same room was just what we needed for the extra layer of desire!! Not to mention that this is the melody that comes BACK in in the end of the show when the gun shot goes off, making it even more heart breaking.
"Beneath a Moonless Sky."
"Once Upon Another Time."
"The Greatest Star of All" from Sunset Boulevard. The way this song builds gives me full body chills. I LOVE the orchestrations of this song, it sounds like thousands of strings are carrying the voice along as Max tells the story of Norma's career. It's so haunting, simple and creepy at the same time. This entire score has to be one of my favorites that Andrew has ever written."
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (the Dance Remix)!!!! Oh yes... There's only one song to end on and that is the awesomeness of the Joseph remix! Andrew is THE best at getting the audience to walk out of the theatre singing his songs!
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