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Singer brings Great White Way to Ogden

Eder, symphony shine in program of show tunes

Linda Eder
Linda Eder

LINDA EDER, UTAH SYMPHONY, Thursday, Weber State University, Ogden; tonight, Abravanel Hall (355-2787).

OGDEN — Although she had a glass of water close at hand to ward off Utah's notorious high and dry altitude, there was no hint that Linda Eder was straining during her performance with the Utah Symphony in Ogden. She delivered an hourlong program of mostly Broadway tunes that alternately sizzled and soared.

With Keith Lockhart wielding the baton (and getting the first part of the evening off to a rousing start with a salute to milestones along the Great White Way), Eder told the crowd she was "glad to be back — and standing up." (Her previous engagement with the Symphony last March was cut short by a nasty confrontation with food poisoning; Lockhart said he obtained a deathbed promise that she would return.)

Eder's 14-song program, punctuated by loud applause, included tunes that have been longtime classics, along with a few selections written by her husband, Frank Wildhorn, from shows that are still in a holding pattern, waiting to open on Broadway.

There was little dawdling between songs as Eder moved from "I Am What I Am" (from "La Cage aux Folles") to a jazzy "Come Rain or Come Shine" (with a hot sax solo from Brian Booth), as well as "On the Street Where You Live," "What Kind of Fool Am I?" "Don't Rain on My Parade" and a poignant rendition of "I'll Be Seeing You."

The weather was cool outside, but Eder turned up the heat inside with Wildhorn's sizzling "Havana," plus two selections from his new musical about Camille Claudel — the emotionally wrenching "Woman in His Arms" and "Gold." (Eder performed the latter with the Utah Symphony during the 2002 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies).

Other highlights were the patriotic "Anthem" from "Chess," "The Impossible Dream" from "Man of La Mancha," and a dramatic encore number, "If I Had My Way."

Eder thanked the Ogden audience for coming to her concert Thursday instead of staying at home to watch the presidential campaign debate, quipping, "Let's have a debate on which candidate can sing the best."

Jeremy Roberts, her personal arranger for the past 18 years, provided backup for her part of the program — along with the full symphony. (She also brought along her own drummer and bass player.)

For the symphony's instrumental segment opening the concert, there were six tunes from some landmark Broadway shows, including Leonard Bernstein's Overture to "Candide," "Times Square 1944" from "On the Town," a pastoral "No One Is Alone" from Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods," Harry Warren's toe-tapping "42nd Street" and two numbers from Kander and Ebb's "Chicago."

Featured symphony soloists spotlighted during the proceedings included Daron Bradford on alto sax, trumpeter Nick Norton and clarinetist Tad Calcara.