London Festival of Cabaret 2014: Maria Friedman and Adam Guettel at the Ambassadors Theatre
As part of the London Festival of Cabaret, triple Olivier Award-winning Maria Friedman is joined by a six-piece band and supporting vocalists for two intimate evenings of concert and conversation, to celebrate the work of double Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Adam Guettel.
Originally planned as a two-way concert and conversation between the two performers, Guettel was unfortunately unable to make the show at the last minute due to his mother, the composer Mary Rodgers Guettel, being taken seriously ill. The audience was accordingly offered more of the music that had brought them to love his composition, and more Friedman, who did an excellent job in ensuring that any initial disappointment at Guettel’s absence was quickly diminished. She dominated the stage, delighting attendees with her exquisite voice and forceful physical presence. She covered for both herself and Guettel in exploration of the memories and experiences that had shaped their love for music and the stage, regaling the audience with insightful anecdotes and, during the concert’s touching introduction, playing a rare clip of the late Richard Rogers, the illustrious composer and grandfather to Guettel, singing Soon (There’ll Just Be Two of Us) as a lullaby to his grandson.
Friedman’s personal charm and humour ensured the evening remained relaxed and informal, maintaining a conversational tone. Friedman openly admitted to not being fully familiar with some of the songs, and band leader Grigsby requested to start again when making mistakes during songs, which she felt were “too beautiful” to get wrong. Infused with camaraderie and a mutual celebration of talents between all performers, attendees were offered what felt like a unique and intimate glimpse into the rehearsal room of a Guettel performance. The cosy auditorium of the Ambassadors Theatre lent itself to the show’s intimacy.
It was an evening of firsts: many of the songs were being performed in public for the very first time, as a preview of Guettel’s latest work. Friedman also admitted to the audience that this was the first time she had ever sung on stage with her glasses on, and Grigby revealed that the evening marked her first public performance since 1991.
The intricacy of Guettel’s compositions and the beautiful sounds with which these were performed, both vocal and instrumental, ensured that the audience was unaware of the Guettel’s absence, instead enriched by a renewed appreciation of his compositional genius.
Maria Friedman and Adam Guettel: In Concert and in Conversation is at the Ambassadors Theatre until 21st May 2014, for further information visit here.
London Festival of Cabaret 2014 is on until 22nd May 2014, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch Maria Friedman perform As If We Never Said Goodbye here: