On Sunday September 30 beautiful theatre star Juliana Hansen debuted her one-woman cabaret at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal. Directed by dynamic Bruce Kimmel and with sleek musical direction from A.J. Robb, Hansen literally had her audience eating out of her palm from the very top of the 70-minute gig. Ultra confident and never missing a beat, Hansen segued from song to story to song seemlessly. Her voice is as pure and fragile as porcelain - it is so beautiful, like that of Julie Andrews or Kristen Chenoweth, that she is a recording artist's dream, a true singer's singer. In her young career, she has been requested by Academy Award winning composer Richard B. Sherman to sing internationally for Disney in Concert and to premiere songs cut from MARY POPPINS.
For this very special cabaret evening Hansen selected a variety of lilting as well as comedic songs that more than gave testimony to her tremendous versatility. She opened on a high note with "Cockeyed Optimist", followed by "Much More" from The Fantasticks and then essayed a delightful Princess medley, which included "Belle", "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" and "A Happy Working Song" by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, which she originally premiered live in 2009 prior to the release of the Disney film Enchanted. Speaking of her love for Audrey Hepburn, she sang a gorgeous version of "Moon River" from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's followed by two equally beautiful songs that never became famous as they are from the musical show Breakfast at Tiffany's, which abruptly closed prior to Broadway. She offered Charlie Chaplin's "Smile", a terrific Sherman Brothers medley, which included her favorite and mine "Feed the Birds", a sensational "Disneyland", which rightfully won her a Spotlight Award as a senior in high school, "Gimme Gimme" from Thoroughly Modern Millie and closed with a song you would expect a soprano of her calibre to sing "Over the Rainbow". Silk, satin, gossamer, all come to mind! What was more exciting for me, however, were the numbers that you would not expect her to sing, like Ado Annie's "I Can't Say No" from Oklahoma, The Beach Boys eclectically dreamy "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and David Friedman's oh so funny, funny "Simple Christmas Wish", which takes sweetness and turns it inside out. Talk about versatility; I would love to see Miss Hansen play Louise in Gypsy. She's a very sweet gal with a lot of guts and moxy, who can do it all exceedingly well.
Don't miss Juliana Hansen wherever she appears. She's a singer's singer with a great future ahead on record, on stage, and now in cabaret.