Ghostlight has issued a number of musical soundtracks, so it is not surprising that the performances on Kelli O'Hara's Wonder in the World have a theatrical air about them. What is surprising is the broad base from which O'Hara draws her material. One might expect, for instance, to find her version of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's "I Have Dreamed," or her duet with Harry Connick, Jr. on the title track (which Connick penned), and even imagine that Billy Joel's "And So It Goes" would fit in well structurally with other show tune oriented material. But O'Hara also delves into older pop classics like "Spooky" and later, James Taylor's "Fire and Rain." While both songs add a sense of familiarity for those more attuned to oldies radio than show tunes, and while O'Hara handles both songs well, they also add a lounge element that boarders on schmaltzy. This is especially the case with "Spooky." O'Hara has a light tone that works much better with songs like "Make Someone Happy" and "All the Way," and the tasteful, low-key accompaniment -- piano, bass, guitar, and drums -- with light strings provides the right counterbalance. For show tune and lounge fans who like a touch of pop with the classics, and for Harry Connick, Jr. fans (he plays piano on the album), Wonder in the World serves as a fine introduction to Kelli O'Hara.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
feat: Harry Connick, Jr.