Last night, Mr. Best Things and I had the pleasure of seeing the musical Little Women at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton.
Now, I love this musical. Sutton Foster. One of my favourite childhood stories. Full on tear jerker. Old-fashioned, straight laced love and passion. It really is something. But I’d never seen it onstage. True to Citadel form, the sets, wigs, costumes, lighting, sound, and space were all just stunning. I especially noticed the hair. It’s difficult to have so many long haired wigs and have them all look so amazing. They have some really talented Wig Masters working there. Just beautiful.
Watching this show, and watching another actress take on the role of Jo March (which was so famously played by Sutton Foster on Broadway) brought up an interesting thought for me. Do you need to belt notes in songs just because the girl on the broadway recording did? Sutton is a widely renowned high belt/mixer and she sings the crap out of the high notes at the end of “Astonishing” the big solo that closes act one. The beautiful actress who played Jo in the Citadel’s production didn’t belt. She has a stunning voice, but it’s not that bright, strong, straight tone that we’re used to hearing from Sutton and the Broadway recording. Should this be held against her? Should she be compared to Sutton? Is it wrong to NOT BELT the end of astonishing?
I don’t think it’s wrong. The only thing I will say, is that I think it was written for Sutton to sing. It was written with that last note being at the top of a high belters range to help get across all the emotions the character is feeling. When the notes are not belted, they are not that high and therefore it’s harder to get across the emotion of the song. But that’s just me. I love a good, high (healthy) belt. Nothing better.