Asolo Rep is continuing its season of outdoor productions on the Terrace Stage with the current, fleeting show Laura Osnes in Concert, which opened Friday, Feb. 5, and is onstage just once more tonight.
That doesn’t give audiences much opportunity to hear Osnes perform, but for those attending last night it was a pleasant, mostly light evening consisting largely of Broadway material. Two-time Tony nominee Osnes has appeared on Broadway in musicals ranging from Grease to South Pacific to Cinderella to Anything Goes, with forays on other stages into The Sound of Music, Carousel and, right here in Sarasota, the Frank Wildhorn musical Bonnie and Clyde, back in 2010. So songs from some of those shows naturally fill her approximately 65-minute performance, which is accompanied by Osnes’ music director, Fred Lassen. The two have a nice rapport, conversing breezily between numbers. And Osnes’ husband, Nathan Johnson, turns up for one song, "A Whole New World," from Aladdin, in which the two performed before they married.
Osnes leads off the evening with a song from Bonnie and Clyde, “How ’Bout a Dance,” after reflecting on what a thrill it was to be singing again in front of a live audience. The admission (whether true or not) of having stage fright then led to a rendition of Maria’s song “I Have Confidence” from The Sound of Music, and other Rodgers and Hammerstein songs followed—one of them, “If I Loved You,” from Carousel, giving Osnes a chance to display more of her vocal range than the earlier numbers. She is nicely exuberant on the songwriting duo’s “A Wonderful Guy” from South Pacific.
Wisely, there are a few change-of-pace songs thrown into the mix, too, like the slower, more plaintive “Far From the Home I Love” from Fiddler on the Roof, a creative arrangement by Lassen of "Green Finch and Linnet Bird" from Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, and “When She Loved Me,” written by Randy Newman for Toy Story 2. But mostly the emphasis is on upbeat songs like “It’s DeLovely” from Anything Goes, a “Cinderepic” medley of Cinderella songs, Wicked’s “Popular” and My Fair Lady’s “I Could Have Danced All Night,” from the Eliza Doolittle role Osnes would love to play someday.
It all flies by swiftly, and if you’re an Osnes fan, but one not able to score a ticket to the show, some time spent listening to her Broadway soundtrack recordings might provide solace. For more on upcoming Asolo Rep shows, visit asolorep.org.