Following a Disney decade at Broadway’s Palace Theater with the long-run family tuners “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aida,” the legendary house returns to vaudeville with holiday concert presentations by Vanessa Williams and Linda Eder. The latter did a striking two-day stand for a capacity aud, presenting a voice possessing slivers of Garland grit and Streisand savvy in addition to a genuinely warming personal-ity.
Eder’s voice is big and warm, and her supportive fan base greeted her enthusiastically.
The diva, on a stage banked with poinsettia plants, reprised several of her trademark tunes, laced with Broad-way standards “Just in Time” and Cy Coleman’s prediction “The Best Is Yet to Come.”
A nine-piece band that stretched across the Palace stage sounded much bigger than it was, adding thundering accompaniment to Eder’s galloping take on “Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote).” From composer-husband Frank Wildhorn’s trunk came her repertoire staple “Vienna,” here augmented by a sprawling 34-voice choir. The piece rises and churns with poetic majesty.
Eder also offered a melodically teasing preview of Wildhorn’s tuner “Camille Claudel,” about the sculptor who was the lover of Auguste Rodin; show previewed at Goodspeed last year.
Singer tapped both her Atlantic showtune CD “Broadway My Way” (for “Edelweiss,” among others) and her disc “Christmas Stays the Same.”
Second act featured the sprawling choir’s backup, with the accent on seasonal carols and songs. Choral assist added rich flavor to familiar tunes “O Holy Night,” “Ave Maria” and “Silent Night,” with arrangements that put a fresh sheen on tradition. “The Little Drummer Boy,” in particular, featured a boldly funky base that was infec-tiously rhythmic.
Like Williams, Eder closed with the holiday benedictory “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and a bow to record-breaking Palace trouper Judy Garland.
Concert dates follow in Fort Myers, Fla.; Illinois; California; and a spring turn in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.