Photo Credit: D. Sabella
Corinna Sowers Adler brought her show “Second Stories” to the 4th floor of the Yotel, and offered up an interesting mix of voice, story, and temperament that captivated the intimate yet enthusiastic audience at The Green Room 42.
A soprano on par with Kristin Chenoweth, with a slight mix of Liz Callaway, and and dash of Reba McEntire for good measure, Sowers Adler sang each song of her set as if her life depended on it. And, for each of her characters, it did.
This show was the second installment of her “Story-Songs,” and as such, each song represented a pivotal shift in the character’s development, an “ah-ha” moment if you will. And with each of the songs she presented, I couldn’t help but have a few “ah-ha” moments myself.
The Story, by Brandi Carlile was a great opener, with a very strong point of view. And, Lieberman and Stoller’s Pearl’s a Singer found just the right amount of comedy and triumph. But, it was with The Girl In 14G that Sowers Adler found her inner-diva (and outer-diva, for that matter). This was by far the single best performance of this song I have ever heard, including from Ms. Chenoweth herself. Each phrase was nuanced and colored to perfection. The song was authentically funny, without pretence. Nothing here was “put on” for show. Sowers Adler simply was the girl in 14 G, surviving the onslaught of Jazz and Opera surrounding her.
This was a highly crafted show, built around a highly skilled performer. And, Sowers Adler made her mark in every song she sang. Meadowlark (Stephen Schwartz) was exceptional, evoking the very best of both Patti Lupone, and Liz Callaway, and still making it completely her own. It is with slight turns of phrase, or the inflection of a word, that this performer claimed each song from her more well-know predecessors. And, what a rare gift indeed when a singer can both pay tribute to, and redefine a song, at the same time.
Gertrude Lawrence got a well deserved nod with the Saga of Jenny (Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin). And Reba McEntire would have been proud of Sowers Adler’s rendition of Fancy (Bobbie Gentry).
Of particular note was I’ll Be Here by Adam Gwon, and Oh How I Loved You, by Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler. Both songs were sung with a care and pathos that was both beautiful and heartbreaking.
Ever the teacher, having been nominated for a TONY award for Excellence in Theater Education, Sowers Adler took this opportunity at the Green Room 42 to share the stage with one of her young protegee, Elizabeth Nucci, dueting with the aptly titled On The Second Floor, by Meg Flather. Ms. Nucci sang well, having learned from the master, but understandably did not yet share the ease of being on stage that Sowers Adler exemplified. Keep going Miss Nucci. You are in good hands.
Sowers Adler was supported well by Musical Director, James Horan, with David Rosenthal on Guitar, Christian Fabian, Bass, and Johgkuk Kim, Drums. And, her “back up boys” husband, Nicholas Adler, and Mark Szep hit all the right notes, literally and figuratively.
“Second Stories” is definitely worth seeing, should Ms. Sowers Adler decide to reprise it. And with the success of “Story Songs” and “Seconds Stories”, one can only hope for a high-rise of shows to follow.
Meadowlark by Stephen Schwartz