An Evening with Melissa Errico: Lichfield Festival

An Evening with Melissa Errico: Lichfield Festival

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Posted 2023-07-02 by Tony Collinsfollow
Melissa Errico is used to seeing her name in lights. Since being famously cast as Eliza in what still remains the last Broadway revival of My Fair Lady in 1992, she has starred in a variety of top shows, from Sunday in the Park with George to Passion and Les Misérables. New York-born Melissa has also become a concert, cabaret and recording artist, as well as a film and TV actress, so audiences in Staffordshire have much to look forward to when she appears at the Lichfield Cathedral on July 11. The talented performer will be bringing the glamour of Broadway to the cathedral as part of the annual Lichfield Festival - the only UK venue outside London where audiences can see her sing live.

Entitled The Life and Loves of a Broadway Baby, her show features a dazzling set of beloved standards from Rodgers & Hart to Lerner & Lowe, music from her latest ‘film noir’ album, and songs by two late, great, composing legends with whom she is especially associated – Michel Legrand and Stephen Sondheim. As well as the songs, the show will be interspersed with stories that recount her passion for the brightest lights in American musical theatre. Melissa will be joined on stage by a quartet of musicians from Ronnie Scott's led by Lichfield Festival Associate Artist (and Ronnie Scott’s Artistic Director), pianist James Pearson.

Melissa Errico bringing Broadway to Lichfield


Melissa was introduced to the music of Legrand by her father, an orthopaedic surgeon and frustrated concert pianist. She recalled: “He used to vary his diet of Tchaikovsky and play Legrand when he was wooing, or rather re-wooing, my mother.” Some years later, Melissa had the chance to audition for Legrand’s only Broadway musical, Amour, and was ultimately nominated for a Tony Award. It set up a closer relationship with Legrand that continued until his death in 2019. She added: “We became a working duet and he insisted on orchestrating for me an immense hundred-piece orchestra. That album became eventually my Legrand Affair. I was deeply moved both to be asked to write his eulogy in The New York Times and to be the one American singer at his amazing memorial at the Grand Rex in Paris.”

It was through Amour that a connection was made with Stephen Sondheim, composer of hit musicals including Company and A Little Night Music and lyricist of West Side Story. This led to her being offered the role of Dot in his musical Sunday in the Park with George in 2002. “We corresponded richly when I was making my album dedicated to his music, Sondheim Sublime. We even shared the same birthday. I wrote once to point this out and he said, with false innocence, ‘Oh. Are you 88 too?!’” The resulting album was described in the Wall Street Journal as 'the best all-Sondheim album ever recorded'.

Melissa to star as part of this year's Lichfield Festival


Melissa's latest album and lockdown project, Out of the Dark: The Film Noir Project, was said to create a sultry, evocative, cabaret nightclub atmosphere. She will be bringing all that and more to Lichfield audiences on July 16. So, what to expect? “Swing, sensuality, some smarts, some sophistication, some sweetness. I’ve been trying to bring together a kind of ‘jazz adjacent’ singing, as in my current Noir album – which I’m proud to say just won the Bistro Award for best concept album – alongside the glories of Broadway. That’s the place I’m living right now, where jazz singing and theatre singing meet and blend. I’ve had a semi-secret jazz life since I was in my twenties, and it’s thrilling to be working now, out in the open, with the world’s greatest jazz musicians.”

Melissa Errico: The Life and Loves of a Broadway Baby, is at Lichfield Festival on Tuesday 11 July. Lichfield Festival runs from 6-16 July. Details and tickets from www.lichfieldfestival.org .

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220871 - 2023-06-27 13:35:59

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