70s & Sunny - Live At 54 Below

by Steven Bergman
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Apr 9, 2013
70s & Sunny - Live At 54 Below

Manhattan in the 1970's was a hybrid of highlights and hedonism. Overrun with sex shops and financial turmoil, the city was at a low, but the bright lights of Broadway gave us some of the most memorable shows that are still remembered today: "A Chorus Line," "Company," and the classic, comic strip orphan herself, "Annie." Therefore it only seems appropriate that the latest release from the "Live at 54 Below" cabaret series, currently enjoying success in the basement of Studio 54, one of most famous symbols of 1970's partying, is from Andrea McArdle, Broadway's original "Annie."

With this recording, "70's and Sunny: Live at 54 Below," McArdle pays tribute to the decade that made her the idol of every little, pre-teen girl in the 1970's. Now a veteran of showbiz life in her 50's, the actress had the attention of every celebrity during her youthful tenure in the Great White Way's adaptation of the classic red-haired orphan (which ran from 1977-1983).

McArdle's setlist is an eclectic, yet wonderful mix of the musical styles that permeated the radios, record players, and 8-track decks of the decade, including Marvin Hamlisch's "Fallin'," the pop hits "Native New Yorker" and "Rainy Days and Mondays," and Michael Jackson's "Got to Be There." Her anecdotes feature a who's who of the time, including a young Jackson's attendance at her 14th birthday party, Barbra Streisand, Carol Channing (with whom McArdle co-starred in 1984's "Jerry's Girls") and Sir Paul McCartney, who purchased the publishing rights to "Tomorrow" after hearing the little McArdle perform the song.

Back by a solid four-piece rhythm section fronted by musical director Steve Marzullo, on loan from another 70's tribute musical now playing on Broadway, "Mamma Mia," McArdle gives the audience her expected signature song, "Tomorrow," but also throws in "N.Y.C." and a touching encore of "Over the Rainbow." Her very distinct voice leans more to the pop world than her Broadway roots, but the set contains the amount of heart that can only come from a performer who lived the music she's performing, and for this, McArdle deserves high marks.

"70's and Sunny: Live at 54 Below"
Andrea McArdle
CD and digital formats
Broadway Records / 54 BELOW

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.


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