Love is Good

An Evening With Christine Andreas and Martin Silvestri at the piano

 


Christine Andreas
At 54 Below – November 2014

“Electricity in the Air”

From The New York Times
by Stephen Holden

 

The most thrilling rendition of “La Vie en Rose” this side of Edith Piaf: That would describe Christine Andreas’s performance of Piaf’s passionate signature song, at 54 Below on Tuesday evening.

Ms. Andreas’s voice, unlike Piaf’s, isn’t the feral cry of a street urchin, but it is infused with a high-voltage current of electricity that rides on a quickened vibrato and gives everything she sings a sense of urgency. Her engagement with lyrics is so intense … you feel you are her, living the song she is performing.

As Ms. Andreas has matured, she has largely forsworn the demureness of her ingénue days. She remains a great beauty, though the sensibility she now conveys is the determination and free spirit of a strong-willed woman eager to take chances.

Her show, “Love Is Good,” is a collaboration with her husband, the composer Martin Silvestri, who plays piano and accordion, and joins her in a wonderful rendition of “I Remember It Well,” from “Gigi.” The show is a shared musical valentine between husband and wife devoid of the lovey-dovey cuteness that can curdle marital duets in nightclubs. Mr. Silvestri obviously adores his wife, but he doesn’t fawn over her.

The show opened with “Storybook,” the French-style waltz from the musical “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and took wing with a deep, detailed rendition of “Alfie,” in which Ms. Andreas took the song through several mood changes, maintaining an attitude of concern and compassion toward the womanizer addressed in Hal David’s lyrics.

Ms. Andreas is especially good at expressing happiness and boundless enthusiasm. Her versions of “He Loves Me,” “I Love Paris” and “On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)” were bright explosions of pure joy. Even “Fly Me to the Moon,” a song so ubiquitous that the mere mention of it can make you groan, was delivered with a core of conviction that made you perk up your ears.

 


Christine Andreas: Love Is Good- A Voice for The Ages

From Theatre Pizzazz
by Alix Cohen 
November 2014
 

Christine Andreas and her husband, musical director/composer/arranger Marty Silvestri, have been married 23 years. Love Is Good takes us on a journey through mutual admiration, respect, and affection reflected in the couple’s musical lives. The relationship appears enviable.

“Storybook,” which the artist introduced in Broadway’s The Scarlett Pimpernel, introduces an evening of resonant, upbeat emotion. Listen to me, I have beautiful dreams/I can spin you, dreams to linger within you/Close your eyes and we’ll ride my carousel…One does sometimes close one’s eyes listening to this vocalist, savoring the frisson she evokes. Tony Bennett said “Go deeper” Andreas tells us embodying his philosophy.

Case in point, a slow, lush rendition of “Fly Me to The Moon” soars like a bird on high winds. Imagine that feeling of exhilaration, total engagement without a tense muscle, the semblance of freefall. What’s often interpreted as impersonal pop, here becomes passionate. Andreas, of course, knows exactly what she’s doing. She infectiously revels in the extravagant. Were the vocalist less skilled, had she less awareness of when to pull back, less ferocious technique, performance might be overwrought instead of stunning.

“I Could’ve Danced All Night” (Andreas played Eliza in the 20th anniversary edition of My Fair Lady) and the expansive “He Loves Me” (“She Loves Me”) showcase expertise with perfect punctuating gestures. Vitality and charisma bookend that glorious voice. This is an actress through and through.

Numbers like the unexpected “Something That We Do” (Clint Black/Skip Ewing) Love is certain, love is kind/Love is yours and love is mine/But it isn’t something that we find/It’s something that we do…remind us this is not a one trick pony. The vocal is lower, textured, and seems to come from a different place. “When Marty suggested this, I thought he was out of his mind.” Andreas confides. “I pulled a diva and said I didn’t do twang.” She doesn’t. The song is accessible, authentic.

“Is This The Way It Feels?” (Martin Silvestri/Joel Higgins) is from The Countess of Storyville (New Orleans), a musical currently in development. “The character has never fully surrendered to love, Silvestri tells us, “when she finally does…” A number that will eventually be covered by simply everyone, the song brims with hope, gratitude, excitement, and trepidation. Andreas makes it both down to earth and heady. The beautiful “Love is Good” (Martin Silvestri/Tony Tanner), sung in both French and English, is about as poetic, yet direct a declaration as is possible- much more difficult to write. Hers is a lustrous, intimate rendition.

Andreas and Silvestri banter with ease and humor. Brief stories pepper the show, some personal, others professional. A duet of “I Remember It Well” is low key and charming, replete with a bit of pretty fair Maurice Chevalier. Though Andreas exerts gravitational pull, don’t take Silvestri’s arrangements for granted. There are wonderful things going on beneath, beside, and between vocals. The musician’s handling of “On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever),” for example, is completely original and quite magical.

Andreas closes with “La Vie En Rose.” I’ve written about this part of her programs repeatedly. Channeling the tensile dynamism of Piaf or sophisticated glee of Mistinguett, the performer sings pristine French with irrepressible authority and pleasure. It’s thrilling.


Love is Good: Christine Andreas and Martin Silvestri at The Pheasantry, London

From MusicalTheatreReview.com
by Jeremy Chapman 
February 2015
 

Star rating: 5 stars *****

It’s almost 40 years since Christine Andreas played Eliza Doolittle in the 1976 revival of My Fair Lady on Broadway but the beauty of voice and face remains totally intact and this Love is Good collaboration with her composer-arranger-pianist husband Martin Silvestri of 24 years delights from start to finish.

Their very-much-ongoing relationship, which started at the White House when she and Silvestri teamed up to entertain George Bush Snr, sparked this intimate 85-minute trawl through some of the world’s finest love songs, peppered with anecdotes and charming recollections of their lives and work.

The rapport, not too lovey-dovey but exhibiting a genuine ease at performing together, lights up the Pheasantry stage in what is becoming one of the King’s Road cabaret room’s annual highlights.

A “dyed-in-the-wool Broadway baby”, Andreas has a list of musical theatre credits anyone would be proud of, not least Tony nominations for Oklahoma! and On Your Toes.

More recently – and after putting her career on hold for a while to look after her special needs son – she toured 25 different cities in a year with The Light in the Piazza in 2006-7 and her latest Broadway spin came as Jacqueline in La Cage Aux Follies when it transferred from London in 2010 with Douglas Hodge.

It was with the waltz-time ‘Storybook’ (Frank Wildhorn/Nan Knighton) from a Broadway role Andreas created in 1997, Marguerite in The Scarlet Pimpernel, that she thrillingly opened this show.

The title song ‘Love is Good’ and the even better ‘Is This the Way It Feels?’ from The Countess of Storyville, a musical about New Orleans awaiting a Broadway home, were Silvestri compositions that stood up superbly against the more famous ones that surrounded them. His piano work was masterly throughout.

The couple’s duets on the droll ‘I Remember It Well’ from Gigi, with Silvestri doing his best Maurice Chevalier fractured-English impression, and ‘Rhode Island (Is Famous For You)’, from the 1948 Howard Dietz-Arthur Schwartz revue Inside USA, revealed the timing that can only be achieved through painstaking preparation.

This is a beautifully-crafted evening that all young wannabes should rush to see while they still can. They will learn that there is no need to push the top notes for the sake of a good belt and that cabaret polish is much, much more than just getting up on a stage and singing a few standards.

A bright, shiny soprano with a fair old belt and husky when needed, Andreas is a classic interpeter of the Great American Songbook, and even well-worn material such as ‘On a Clear Day’, ‘Fly Me to the Moon’, ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ and ‘He Loves Me’ (from She Loves Me, the revival of which, at the Landor, is well worth visiting) seems fresh in her always-intelligent interpretations.

Her dip into the world of classic pop with the Bacharach/David compositions ‘Alfie’ and ‘What the World Needs Now’ is another success, and the moving Amanda McBroom’s ‘Errol Flynn’, about the composer’s love for her bit-part actor father, always brings a tear to the eye, especially when sung so sympathetically.

The pair are off to Paris this weekend and their love affair with that city of romance shines through in ‘La Vie En Rose’, ‘I Love Paris’ and ‘Hymne A L’Amour’.

A gorgeous, sophisticated and hypnotic evening in the company of two of New York’s finest.

 


 

Christine Andreas – Love is Good at The Pheasantry, London

From TheStage.co.uk
by Mark Shenton 
February 2015

 

Christine Andreas, a one-time Broadway ingenue who played Eliza Doolittle in a 1976 revival of My Fair Lady (opposite Ian Richardson’s Henry Higgins) and appeared as Laurey three years later in Oklahoma!, now exudes an effortless, mature sophistication as the veteran cabaret performer she has long since become.

As Andreas revisits My Fair Lady’s I Could Have Danced All Night, nearly 40 years after she first sang it on a Broadway stage, the intervening years simply melt away; her voice has an absolutely timeless shimmer. Some of the top notes may be harsher – though she did admit to suffering from “jeg-lag voice” – but in the best cabaret it’s not always to do with the perfection of the notes but the presence of the artist.

And in that sense, Andreas is absolutely present. Expertly accompanied by her husband of 24 years, Martin Silvestri, she translates their intimate rapport into one with the audience. There’s a lot of Lerner – as well as My Fair Lady, we also get Gigi’s I Remember It Well (lovingly performed by the two of them) and a thrillingly arranged encore of On a Clear Day. There’s also a delightful freshness to He Loves Me (from the musical She Loves Me) and a gorgeous intimacy with Bart Howard’s Fly Me to the Moon.

The programme includes two excellent songs by Silvestri himself and a generous helping of Piaf, plus a smattering of contemporary songwriting by Clint Black, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Amanda McBroom. Andreas has put together a revealing and poignant programme for her wide-ranging talents.

 


Hot Off the Press – Fall in “Love” with Christine Andreas

From Cititour.com
November 2014
 

54 Below, the delightfully intimate cabaret on West 54th Street, has really found multiple ways to have patrons to say “yes” to leaving their homes in chilly No-No-November.  After presenting sold-out shows earlier this month by the incomparable Patti LuPone and the wonderful Jeremy Jordan, next week, they will host the sublime singer-songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway (November 23-29) and the debut show of the handsome Broadway baby David Burtka, directed by his hubby, Neil Patrick Harris (November 25-26).

But there’s a major reason to say “oui, oui” to heading out to the classy club on November 21-22: the truly divine Christine Andreas, a two-time Tony Award nominee, and her husband and musical partner Martin Silvestri are serving up their newest collaboration “Love Is Good”.  The title is admittedly an understatement in more ways than one, for the show – which the couple joke has been 23 years in the making – is simply phenomenal.

This 80-minute collection of some of the world’s best (and best-known) love songs, peppered with amusing and heartfelt recollections for the couple’s life and career, begins with a truly bewitching take on Frank Wildhorn and Nan Knighton’s luxurious waltz “Storybook,” which Andreas introduced in Broadway’s “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” From there, we move on through such highlights as Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s gorgeous “I Could Have Danced All Night,” and bittersweet “I Remember It Well,” (in which Silvestri does a grand impression of Maurice Chevalier), Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz’s pun-filled paean to the U.S, “Rhode Island (Is Famous For You)”, Sammy Cahn and Gene DePaul’s timelessly seductive “Teach Me Tonite,” and Jerry Bock  and Sheldon Harnick’s joyously giddy “He Loves Me,” each done to perfection. Andreas can belt like the best of them, still hit the high notes, and find the right interpretation for each lyric – a true triple-threat.

The show also has a bit of a Continental flavor, as Andreas uses her perfect French not just in one section of “Storybook,” but in the enchanting “Love Is Good” (written by Silvestri and Tony Tanner), and in a vocally stunning version of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose”. And you will be transported to Tuscany during the singer’s lush take on Mary Chapin-Carpenter’s “What If We Went to Italy,” while Silvestri deftly accompanies her on the accordion.

If I had to choose the highest point of this musical mountain, it would be Andreas’ ultra-sensitive rendition of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s glorious “Alfie” (paired with a section of the pair’s “What the World Needs Now.”) Before she sings, Andreas urges us all to listen closely to what she calls this “eloquent conversation” and you could have literally heard a pin drop as she “talked” to us, in David’s wondrous words, about the meaning of true love. And let’s face it, love is not just good, it’s great! And so is Christine Andreas

 

 
  

Stephen Sorokoff My View:
It Took 22 Years To Create This Show “I’ll Have What She’s Having”

From The Times Square Chronicles
By Stephen Sorokoff
November 2014
 

You would think that anything around for 22 years could get outmoded or passe’ and lack passion and fervor. Then Christine Adreas walks onto a stage with her “partner in life and music” husband Martin Silvestri. Not only does Christine not look like 22 years have gone by, her voice, enthusiasm, and spirit are that of an excited “new face” on the Cabaret scene. This show is titled “Love Is Good” and it’s great. As Christine and Martin noted, it was originally conceived for a command performance at the White House for George #1 (that’s not Washington).  Kudos to pianist/arranger/composer Martin Silvestri, It was wonderful hearing someone who knows how to play the accordion and uses the buttons as well as the piano keys.  This is a very successful partnership!

All I can say after watching and listening to Christine is “I’ll have what she’s having”.

You can see more of Stephen’s photos of Christine Andreas at broadwayworld.com

 

 

 

Christine Andreas
Oak Room at the Algonquin

From The New York Times
by Stephen Holden
March 14, 2000

 

When Christine Andreas sings a word like “thrill,” the rapid pulse of her rich, rounded soprano races, and she finds a blend of lyricism and sweet sensuality that only the finest Broadway voices can conjure.  Ms. Andreas became a star playing Eliza Doolittle in the 20th-anniversary Broadway production of My Fair Lady.  A high point of her newest cabaret act, which plays through April 1, is a medley that includes two songs from that show, “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?”, both executed with a supremely graceful finesse.  Ms. Andreas is so richly endowed with vocal gifts that the beauty of her singing alone can carry a show…

 


 

From The New York Post
By Chip Deffaa

March 2000

 

Twenty-four years ago, as I waited in the St. James Theater for the revival of My Fair Lady to begin, I wondered if the “un-known” who’d been cast in the Eliza Doolittle role – Christine Andreas – could measure up to cherished memories I had.  For my love affair with the Theater had begun 15 years earlier, catching My Fair Lady at the Mark Hellinger in its original Broadway run.  But Andreas, so appealingly human and endearing, won me over.  The other night at the Oak Room, as Andreas eased brightly into a song from My Fair Lady – every word clear, crisp, warm and dancing with life – I jotted in my notebook with amazement: “24 years later she could still play the same role, the voice, the good looks, the spunk are all there!”  She also sat on the piano, Helen Morgan style, and carried off with aplomb a Morgan torch song.  And she gave “Is This the Way it Feels?” from a Broadway-bound musical, Storyville, a sterling debut.  I hope there may be a good role for her in that show – if not, she could always revive My Fair Lady!

 


 

“Her versions were… completely new readings of the songs of Berlin, Gershwin, Weill, Kern and Rogers and Hammerstein, each one superbly arranged and beautifully played by her accompanist, Martin Silvestri, himself a noted Broadway composer. It was an evening of pure cabaret magic”. 

Stu Hamstra’s Cabaret Hotline – Australia

 

“Christine Andreas is a class act. You will not see a greater female talent here or on any other world stage. Superbly supported and joined by her husband, accompanist and happy guardian, Marty Silvestri, Andreas proves by her unforgettable presence that she has reached the pinnacle of the art form.”

The Sunday Mail, Matt Byrne – Sydney, Australia

 

While it appears that every major cabaret entertainer in town is singing “Storybook” these days, the soaring waltz is never quite so thrilling as when performed by Christine Andreas…in her debut performance at the historic Oak Room in the Algonquin Hotel, Andreas spins beautiful dreams on her imaginary carousel…sung in perfect French, the singer recalls an image of fervent Piaf, caressing words of love and longing with big, open-hearted allure.

Variety
by Robert Daniels

 

“In terms of vocal technique, she is a finer singer than almost all on the cabaret scene.  She applies her pure tones to some wisely chosen numbers, including the rarely revived Jimmy Dorsey ballad, “I’m Glad There Is You,” Robert Merrill’s “Mira” (from Carnival), and Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes.

New York Post Review
by Chip Deffaa