Melissa Errico, radiant in boho chic at The Green Room 42 in Manhattan on March 22nd, presented a new show featuring Stephen Sondheim’s songs (with one exception), on the great composer’s very own birthday which she happens to share. A renowned, Tony Award-nominated Broadway star, Errico was in very fine voice, and was uniquely and skillfully accompanied simply by guitar (JC Maillard) and percussion (Thierry Arpino). Errico has recorded several highly regarded Sondheim albums, and she sang music from these recordings. But her show had a structure that was kind of perfect for Steven Sondheim’s oeuvre.

Errico began with a description of  Sondheim’s home, a “man’s home,” which she said felt almost like a sacred space (and that sounds about right). Then she sang “Take Me to the World” (Evening Primrose), creating the foundation of a strong, sexy story of the Sondheim woman. Errico continued to build on the unique format with her own amusing and thoughtful observations of life in New York and the writings of other astute New Yorkers (with additional quotes projected) including Adam Gopnik and Dorothy Parker. The song choices included music cut from Follies, music from Evening Primrose,  and even a song from an unproduced film (“Dawn” from Singing out Loud). Honestly, what’s not to love? There was a treasure trove to explore. Errico milked “Can That Boy Foxtrot” (cut from Follies) so skillfully that even after having heard the song a dozen times, I belly laughed with every subtle “ffff”. “I Remember” was simply gorgeous.

I’d never seen Errico before that night in a nightclub setting, so the energy level (which was extremely high) took me by surprise. Though very polished, it felt like an experimental evening in some respects. I was surprised by the number of times I heard a Latin rhythm and a couple of the songs suffered from breakneck speed. But this was a night dedicated to the imagery and poetry  Sondheim created through the women in his Manhattan. Melissa Errico delivered on her vision with a strong premise, personality, impeccable taste, and immense talent.

See for upcoming engagements.