Amalia's vocal demands in "She Loves Me"
Last Edit: Delvino 09:47 am EDT 07/25/20
Posted by: Delvino 09:43 am EDT 07/25/20

As is often the case, growing up with a pristine performance as a yardstick (and not being a singer or informed about singing), I've never thought of "She Loves Me" as a vocally demanding show. Barbara Cook sounded like ... Barbara Cook. Wonderful, and effortlessly a musical comedy expert. But watching the Roundabout production again last night for the third time -- with the glorious Benanti performance -- I was struck by the challenging songs, at least to my ear. She doesn't carry the show, but surely has the more difficult music to sing eight times a week. I know that Benanti had health issues early during the run, singing problems a consequence not a cause. Is the role one of the more difficult? I'm not just speaking about range, though "Ice Cream" has "an eyebrow raising B flat," as Peter Marks noted. It's interesting how much of it is sung seated. I was aware of the Benanti technique, which as many have noted, makes it all look easy. For what it's worth, the first 15 minutes last night had me in tears, missing musical theater. It was one of those 2020 moments we've all experience.

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