Julie Budd Friday November 18, 2005
Classy Julie Budd Does the New Classics at Cerritos
By Glen Creason
The cozy Sierra Room at the Performing Arts Center was almost too small for the expansive style and talent of Miss Julie Budd last Friday evening. Miss Budd, is a seasoned pro and her powerful performance deemed “the New Classics” won over the cabaret crowd and then some on this night. Gaining an enthusiastic standing ovation from the intimate setting audience demonstrated the little lady’s polished gifts and exquisite musical choices. Truthfully, the costumes, delivery and notes hit might be more at home at Carnegie Hall but Lady Budd never wavered from all out, throughout.
Garbed in elegant gowns of silver and red in the two halves of this show Julie Budd told stories of her East Coast youth and sang some gold-plated material drawn from the most interesting sources. On this night she was as much a musicologist as musician which made the act all the more delightful. You can’t help comparing her to Barbra Streisand in appearance and accent but Julie Budd may be what Babs could have been had she stayed on a musical stage and focused on just that art form. This is a singer who knows how to wring every molecule of emotion out of a song.
She opened with the dreamy “Still in Love With Me” followed by Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Someone to Light Up My Life” and cast a real spell with the beautiful “Weekend In New England” by Randy Edelman. Stephen Sondheim’s “Being Alive” was a tonic and the fine Elton John song “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Part” fit the new classics descriptors. Jimmy Webb was there with “Didn’t We” and Neil Sedaka’s “Hungry Years” left little for the musical apetite. Yet, the audience begged for and got her personal property of “Roses and Rainbows” that purred and percolated in places. On the gorgeous “After You” the full palette of vocal color was shown by Julie Budd with breathtaking results.
There was a generous helping of the venerable gems of American song including medleys from Oscar Hammerstein with Richard Rogers then Jerome Kern that varied from the serious commentary of “You’ve Got to Carefully Taught” to the sweet and light of “Something Wonderful” to the low-down “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man of Mine.” There was a swell tribute to Dorothy Fields in story and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby” song. Other highlights in a pretty inspired show were the monologue and song from “a Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and the dazzling encore of a back to back Andrew Lloyd Weber treats of “Music of the Night” and “With One Look” that was the best version of this “Sunset Boulevard” song ever heard in this neighborhood.
When Julie Budd takes on these melodies she swirls them around in her soul, tasting them like a fine wine and savoring each line with sentiment and style, performing each like it is the last she will ever sing. She finishes with a flourish, arms outstretched, head thrown back and a smile as big as Manhattan on her face. You just can’t help loving this way of honoring the new classics.