Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Love Notes for Fantasia

As you may or may not know, Fantasia Barrino, American Idol Season 3 winner known simply as Fantasia now, opened recently as Celie in The Color Purple on Broadway. In the wake of an Oscar winning performance by Jennifer Hudson whom she defeated for the title of American Idol and replacing Broadway actress LaChanze in the Tony winning role she created, Fantasia had a couple of tough acts to follow. Here are some of her reviews.

She’s pretty terrific. So terrific that this earnest but mechanical musical is more effective and affecting than it was when it yawned open a year and a half ago at the Broadway Theater... Fantasia exudes a sweetness, simplicity and honesty that gives it a core of authentic feeling.
--Charles Isherwood, New York Times

That she could sing, we knew... But that she could act . . . and act so wonderfully. So tenderly, so touchingly, so effortlessly. That came as a surprise. I'm talking, if you haven't guessed, about Fantasia, who has taken over so commandingly the role of Celie in the musical "The Color Purple" at the Broadway Theatre.
--Clive Barnes, NY Post

(Fantasia) establishes a direct line of communication with the audience that's fortified whenever she sings, whether it's the touching lullaby "Somebody Gonna Love You," sung to the infant about to be snatched from her arms, or the triumphant affirmation of her existence "I'm Here." And when her immersion in her sister Nettie's letters from Africa prompts her to cut loose in choreographer Donald Byrd's tribal dance, a surge of affection pulses through the house, as if the entire audience were proud parents of an awkward child stepping forward to shine.
--David Rooney, Variety

Fantasia Barrino - high-school dropout in ninth grade, single mother at 17, "American Idol" winner in 2004 - makes a phenomenal stage debut as Celie in "The Color Purple."Much as fellow "Idol" discovery Jennifer Hudson swept into the Oscar books as Effie in "Dreamgirls," the 22-year-old known as Fantasia steps confidently into the demanding role in which LaChanze won last year's Tony Award. With a startling mixture of subtle delicacy and raw power, she dares us to take our eyes off her.
--Linda Winer, NY Newsday


Wow. How many Broadway veterans would kill for reviews like that? Good for her!

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5 Comments:

At 9:52 AM, Blogger judy said...

Wow, this is the kind of ciderella story that we Broadway theater-goers love. This story makes all the folks who are way to sophisticated to enjoy watching unknowns on American Idol become "well-loveds" look just a little narrow....don't you think? As you said, Michael, "Good for her" and I'll add a "you go, girl."I think this may be why watching the children learn to fly in "Peter Pan" makes us cry.

 
At 10:04 AM, Blogger Y | O | Y said...

I heart Fantasia! :)

 
At 5:17 PM, Blogger Vinnie G. said...

Huh, who knew?

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger BigAssBelle said...

well i've never heard of her, but go miss fantasia!!

 
At 11:49 AM, Blogger Diane said...

I saw the review in the Times, but not the others. I'm so thrilled for her! Of all the contestants on Idol over the years, I think she is probably one of the most talented people we've seen. I've yet to see a performance come even close to her rendition of Summertime. And, I remember her singing the schlocky American Idol single in the final and being completely in tears. She was incredible. Glad to know she still is.

 

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