By Edward Kliszus
The lights dimmed as the lovely Ann Kittredge ascended the stage and welcomed the audience with her broad smile. Kittredge opened with This is One of Those Moments/Something Tells Me by LeGrand, Bergman/Martin Gray. This started a joyous sojourn through musical time with songs from the pens of Victor Herbert, Carole King, Stephen Sondheim, Jim Croce, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, and more.
A bluesy arrangement of Carole King’s I Feel the Earth Move followed, heightening the feeling of celebration and joy Kittredge brought the room. With her sumptuous, sultry sound, she serenely sang Before I Gaze at You Again by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner.
Guest artist and accordionist Robbie Kondor joined the ensemble to add his unique, rich intones to Kittredge’s tender, impassioned interpretation of Jim Croce’s Time in a Bottle. This led to a medley of polkas that highlighted Condor’s virtuosity while, as Kittredge explained, forming a tribute to her heritage.
Victor Herbert’s Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life followed a story about the enduring, lifelong love of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, whom MGM studios blocked from marrying legally in the United States. Kittredge’s performance was intimate, touching, and heartfelt, as she sang accompanied simply by guitarist Sean Harkness.
We viewed a brief video Kittredge created entitled Garden, a visual delight accompanied by her vocal offering.
Guest artists Steve Ross arrived at the piano to play and sing along with Kittredge on the song Edelweiss by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The finale arrived with the song Unwritten by Bedingfield, Brisebois, and Rodrigues, which, after enthusiastic applause, segued into a lovely reprise encore, This is One of Those Moments by Michel LeGrand.
Kittredge is a songstress of sumptuous romantic energy who possesses a dazzling gift for expressing the rich meaning of songs. She owns a sensitive, delightful facon de parler and freely communicates with the audience with her storytelling. As a special treat, she engaged with her mother, who was present this evening.
The musical arrangements were well crafted and beautifully supported Kittredge’s artistic, sentimental offerings. The band was excellent, and a special mention is noted for superb solo guitar work by Sean Harkness. Lighting and sound were effectively and sensitively applied by Laurie Beechman’s staff.
Ann Kittredge at the Laurie Beechman Theatre
Robbie Kondor, Accordion
Steve Ross, Piano and Vocals
Ann Kittridge’s debut Album, “reIMAGINE” produced by Paul Rolnick, is available at www.jazzheads.com.
The Laurie Beechman Theater
407 W 42nd St
New York, NY 10036