Harolyn Blackwell

Blackwell Sings Bernstein, a Simple Song

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The challenge in singing Leonard Bernstein's songs, which veer between the opera house and the musical theatre, is to meet the technical requirements of the former while conveying the vivacity of the latter. Harolyn Blackwell, who began her career singing "Somewhere" in West Side Story, tones down the often energetic music in calm arrangements for small ensembles, and sings feelingly. But she misses Bernstein's showiness and humor (notably on an unamusing "Glitter and Be Gay") until she hooks up with pop/Broadway singer Vanessa Williams for a medley of West Side Story songs, which pleasantly undercuts her otherwise sober interpretations, even if Williams steals the show.

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