Well, sort of. At the residence of Monsieur Alphonse, on the left bank of Paris, 6th Arrondissement where I recently spent some down time which was actually a very up time we listened to Natalie Toro’s new CD – aptly titled Natalie Toro. So, in effect she has made her Parisian debut.
I caught a glimpse of Natalie in Glimpses of the Moon at the Algonquin where she was “guest artist” the night before my departure; the same night I received her new CD from Judy Jacksina – press person extraordinaire. Natalie got packed in my luggage, made the transatlantic trip with nary a dent or scratch and I must say it was worth the wait to listen to it. Over and over. Monsieur Alphonse agreed.
It’s rare that one listens to a new CD and the voice that you hear captures your attention immediately. Streisand, Celine Dion and Lara Fabian come to mind. Natalie Toro has her own special distinct voice. It can be warm, vibrant, tender, comforting or amusing and she sure as hell can belt with the best of them – especially in her rendition of “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” from the ill-fated A Tale of Two Cities where I wrote of Ms. Toro in my review for Talk Entertainment.com – “As the avenging Madame Therese Defarge, Natalie Toro is someone who you don’t want to cross. She is out for revenge at any costs and stopping the show with her powerful voice.”
In addition to Natalie’s wonderful vocals, the CD has some of the most original and exciting arrangements of well know Broadway show tunes that make them seem totally new and fresh. In particular, “Something’s Coming” arranged by David Loud.
She also does a magnificent job with Maury Yeston’s “Unusual Way”. Not that any of the others don’t come up to the bar. They do. Including “Here I Am” by David Yazbek and Sondheim’s “Another Hundred People”.
She has been most daring by including four Streisand hits including the famous duet that Barbra sang with Judy Garland – “Get Happy”/”Happy Days” – here recorded with Sutton Foster in another fantastic arrangement by Matt Perri. Some may wonder why? Comparisons are inevitable. While Natalie Toro holds her own and does a terrific job with “If I Could”, “Something’s Coming” and “Where is it Written” she isn’t Streisand. But why should she be? She is Natalie Toro. With her own voice, singing to her own tune. And very well, thank you.
I’ve recently discovered that Natalie has worked with Dana P. Rowe, composer of Zombie Prom and The Fix. I saw the original production of Zombie Prom as Dana and I were working on a couple of musical projects, along with Michael Aman. I can’t wait to talk to her about her experiences with Dana so we can compare notes. Right now Dana, Michael and I are hoping for a full scale production of our original musical The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde that was first produced at the New York Musical Festival in 2005. Dana also wrote the music for The Witches of Eastwick.