That kid with the beanstalk thought his beans were magical?. Clearly he never experienced the most magical bean there is. Shoshana Bean!
The high octave and high octane singer blew the roof off of the legendary Apollo Theater Monday night, and I was lucky enough to be there when it happened. I have to admit that after watching Bean put on such an amazing show, I have been changed…for good.
We were first introduced to the multifaceted artist back in 2000 when she was cast in the Off-Broadway revival of Godspell. From there she became one of the “nicest kids in town” on Broadway originating the role of Shelley in Hairspray. Fans watched Bean soar even higher as she became the first replacement to Idina Menzel as Elphaba in Wicked. More recently, Bean has been putting out new music with her latest album Spectrum going big…big band that is. Spectrum has been praised by both critics and fans alike for it’s spectacular songs and retro vibe. We talked more about the album back in March in an interview you can read here.
The concert began with a 16-piece orchestra slowly building towards Bean’s entrance as she then glided out as a vision in white singing “Remember The Day.” The song choice was fitting as the singer was now back at her old stomping grounds of northern Manhattan. Bean’s look matched her sound as she dazzled in a white, asymmetrical gown with a thigh high slit that prompted many a “Yaaaaas leg!” from boisterous fans. Seeing as Bean has claimed her stake on YouTube by giving soulful renditions of popular songs, it was amazing to witness her take on Rihanna’s “Stay.”
About halfway through the evening, Bean told the audience that there was simply not enough time to sing every song that fans wanted to hear, so she took a few song requests from the loudest fans. The first and loudest request was for “Bless The Lord” from Godspell. I swear it was one oversized hat and a “hallelujah” away from being Sunday mass. The entire Apollo Theater jumped to it’s feet and reveled as Bean sang a cappella.
Other highlights from the concert included a costume change into a sparkly, black number, a James Brown tribute and two special guests. So special in fact that I have to highlight them separately. Cynthia Erivo, another one of Broadway’s belting baddies, stopped by to duet with Bean on the cover that became an instant viral hit, Tayor Swift’s “I Did Something Bad.”
The next special guest was the Grammy-nominated, jazz singer Ledisi, who went belt for belt with Bean as they covered Aretha’s Franklin’s “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved You.”
Bean ended the night (pre-encore) with my personal favorite from the album, “Make It Rain.” The beautiful ballad poured from Bean’s heart and flowed perfectly alongside the orchestra. There was so much heart and soul in this performance that you could not help but shiver at the chill that ran up your spine. After the umpteenth standing ovation the starlet gave an encore performance of “If Ever I Would Leave You.” All that was left to do was to pick our jaws off the ground, and leave to go home to ice our hands from the rigorous applauding.
The volume of the cheers and the amount of uncontrollable outbursts from the audience proved that I was not the only one having a religious experience in that theater. Shoshana Bean is a talent that doesn’t come around too often, so if you’re in need of a little magic on your playlist, look no further! You can download Spectrum on iTunes and get more information on all things Shoshana Bean here.