You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Roz Ryan — All About the Music

Moonlighting from her role as prison matron Mama Morton in "Chicago" at Broadway's Ambassador Theater, Roz Ryan spends her Monday nights off doing a cabaret turn at the Opia Supper Club.

Musicians: Shelton Becton, Steve Singer, Wayne Pedzwater.

Moonlighting from her role as prison matron Mama Morton in “Chicago” at Broadway’s Ambassador Theater, Roz Ryan spends her Monday nights off doing a cabaret turn at the Opia Supper Club.

Ryan is a big gal with a big voice. She is a Broadway belter of the first order, blending blues and gospel roots with a richly flavored sense of sophistication and restraint.

Ryan has a grand, blowsy sense of humor and creates a warm bond with her aud. Her focused, well-balanced repertoire includes Stephen Sondheim’s chummy “Old Friends” — bolstered by a sassy bite — and Charles Aznavour’s reflective “Yesterday When I Was Young.”

Composer Billy Strayhorn was only 16 when he penned the words and music to “Lush Life,” the complex reflection of ultimate loneliness. Ryan claims it took her 20 years to figure out what the song meant, and “when I found out, I got rid of my husband!” She plumbs the depths of its dark, probing narrative. She also gets the lyric right for a change, as so often one hears “distant gay traces” instead of the intended, inspired use of “distingue.”

Torching is the order of the evening with the Harold Arlen/Ira Gershwin number “The Man That Got Away.” Ryan quickly redeems the gloom of unrequited love with Cy Coleman’s “The Best Is Yet to Come” before heralding a new look at life with the rhythmic command to take “All of Me.”

The 53-year-old chanteuse is accompanied by pianist-composer Shelton Becton, who has been her musical director for a quarter-century, since they worked together at the legendary theatrical boite Ted Hook’s Backstage. He brings an admirable solidity to Ryan’s performance. However, while drummer Steve Singer is full of good design and flourish, he often overpowers the vocals.

Wind-up is an emotionally charged performance of Patti Austin’s “Love Me by Name,” a knockout finale that brought a cheering capacity aud to their feet. To echo Mama Morton, “Mama’s good for you!”

Roz Ryan -- All About the Music

Opia Supper Club; 100 capacity; $20

Production: Presented inhouse. Opened, reviewed Aug. 15, 2004. Runs through Aug. 30.

Cast: Musicians: Shelton Becton, Steve Singer, Wayne Pedzwater.

More Legit

  • CAROL CHANNING HERSCHFELD. Actress Carol Channing

    Remembering Carol Channing: A Master of Channeling the Power of Personality

    There was only one Carol Channing, and her outsize personality was a source of delight to many fans — and imitators. Gerard Alessandrini’s stage spoof “Forbidden Broadway” had many incarnations over the years, including the 1994 edition when an audience member was selected every evening to come onstage and impersonate Carol Channing with the cast. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda Among Celebrities Remembering Carol Channing

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bernadette Peters are among the slew of celebrities taking to Twitter to pay tribute to late singer, comedienne and actress Carol Channing. Known for her starring roles in Broadway’s “Hello Dolly!” and “Gentleman Prefer Blondes,” the legend of the stage and screen died Tuesday at her home in Rancho Mirage, [...]

  • What the Constitution Means to Me

    Listen: How Things Got Scary in 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

    For a decade, writer-performer Heidi Schreck had wanted to write a play inspired by her experiences as a teen debater. But over the years the show started to develop into something both urgently political and deeply personal — and things got scary. In the Broadway-bound “What the Constitution Means to Me,” Schreck reimagines her speech-and-debate [...]

  • Carol Channing Dead

    Carol Channing, Star of Broadway's 'Hello, Dolly!' and 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,' Dies at 97

    Larger-than-life musical stage personality Carol Channing, who immortalized the characters of Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello, Dolly!,” has died. She was 97. Channing died Tuesday of natural causes at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Her publicist B. Harlan Boll confirmed the news. He wrote, “It is with [...]

  • 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

    'What the Constitution Means to Me' Transfers to Broadway

    “What the Constitution Means to Me,” a buzzy Off-Broadway production that counts Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem among its fans, is making the move uptown. The play will come to Broadway this spring for a 12-week limited run at the Helen Hayes Theater. “What the Constitution Means to Me” is one part civics lesson, one [...]

  • Choir Boy review

    Broadway Review: 'Choir Boy'

    Honestly, I was afraid that “Choir Boy” — the sweetly exuberant account of a gifted prep school boy’s coming of age, written by “Moonlight” Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney — would be swallowed up in a Broadway house, after winning us over in an Off Broadway staging in 2013.  But aside from the odd set [...]

  • Jason Robert Brown

    Listen: How Ariana Grande Got Jason Robert Brown to Madison Square Garden

    Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown never expected to find himself performing onstage at Madison Square Garden. But he did — thanks to his pal Ariana Grande. Brown met Grande before she was a superstar, when she was in the 2008 Broadway cast of his teen musical “13.” The two have kept in touch ever since [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content