Famed concert. cabaret and Broadway singer, Linda Eder, returns to The McCallum Theatre on February 17 at 8:00 pm with her newest concert. Based on her most recent CD "Now" featuring the music of Frank Wildhorn. Eder is said to possess one of the greatest contemporary voices of our time. She is possibly most widely known for her Drama Desk Award winning performance as Lucy in the original Broadway production of "Jekyll And Hyde" but her career also includes televised specials on Bravo and PBS and sold out concerts at The Greek Theatre, Radio City Music Hall, The Palace Theatre and Carnegie Hall. I had the opportunity to chat with Ms. Eder about her upcoming concert at The McCallum. Here are a few highlights from that interview.
DG: I went on your website and read your blog. It seems like you started the year with a lot of indecision and frustration. How is 2013 shaping up?
LE: It's taken a major shift. Things are definitely looking up. (She laughs) I don't know if I necessarily believe in astrology, but they said this would shift into a good year and it definitely seems to be coming true.
DG: What can the McCallum audiences expect from the show on Sunday?
LE: Every year I put together a different show. This will be a show that's a mix of the different things I do, but it's based heavily on the last CD I did called "Now" and also a show I out together called "Songbirds" where I perform some classic songs from some of the iconic singers.
DG: Who would you say has been the biggest influence on your career?
LE: Well, I would say there were three singers who were the reason I wanted to sing, even though I've had many influences since then. But the original influences were and opera singer named Eileen Farrell and then Judy Garland and then Barbra Streisand. Those three were the three female singers that enticed me into this world.
DG: Did you study the arts in school?
LE: I had choir in high school, but other than that I had no training. This was always something I wanted to do, but I definitely think I had a mentor in my choir teacher.
DG: Can you imagine ... if you weren't a singer/performer, what might you be doing?
LE: That's a tough question for me because I'm sort of a jack-of-all-trades. I was going to be an artist. I was totally going into that as a career but I became a musical artist instead. But. I'm very artistic in general. I also like to write. But, then again I could have been a Vet. (She laughs) Or a carpenter. I mean, I love so many different things and I seem to be fairly good at different things, so it's hard to say.
DG: What was your art medium? Did you paint or draw, or ...
LE: Yes, drawing and painting. I always had a real talent for that. Art seems to consume me. I think its something I'll pick up again in the years to come as I get older and want to be home more and am slowing down.
DG: Do you have a desire to ever return to Broadway?
LE: I love Broadway and I love doing theatre, but it's so demanding. Physically and vocally demanding - demanding of your time. I always kept thinking, as my son gets older - but really, there's no phase of a child's life where you can afford not to be there for them. And now, in particular. He's thirteen. He's turning into an adult so it's a really critical time. Because his Dad and I are divorced and he lives primarily with me it really falls on my shoulders to be that 24/7 parent. I really want to be there for him and having been on Broadway, I know what that entails and how it takes of so much of your life.
DG: I there any role that you have always wanted to play?
LE: Well, I've actually done very little theatre. I'm really a concert singer. I'm known as a Broadway person, but I've only ever done Jekyll and Hyde on Broadway. If I were to pick a role - it's a little difficult to say, but ... I like the role from Sunday in The Park With George. I'd also love to play the role of Fantine. Les Mis is my favorite. That's my all time favorite musical.
DG: What did you think of the film?
LE: To be honest, I didn't enjoy it. I hate to say that. But it's because it is my favorite. I think the performers are all incredibly talented, and I understand the direction the director was going in but it's not what I would have wanted. Because I so love the music. And I don't think the music was served. There are two schools of thought. You know, there's one's who think if you're really "acting" it you're really singing the song. But in my mind you have to remember the melody. It's not just the words that tell the story, it's also the melody. Otherwise there would be no reason to have music. And if you don't serve the melody you're not doing it full justice. Opera is the perfect example of getting the point across with the beauty of the melody and the beauty of the voice. If you think of the violin -- there's no words involved and yet the violin can impart all the same emotions. So I thought, all too often, the music was lost. And because it's my favorite score I just really had a hard time with it and I didn't find it emotional because of that.