It is difficult for the mind to accept that this April will be the 40th anniversary of Andrea McArdle first singing “Tomorrow” on the Broadway stage. The title role in the musical Annie, which earned her a Tony nomination, will forever be linked to her name. But the plucky little redhead has left that orphan in the dust with her grown up roles in such Broadway musicals as Starlight Express, Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables and State Fair. She has also starred in such musicals as Oliver, They’re Playing Our Song, Evita, Grease, Mame, Hello, Dolly! and more in theatres around the country. She even portrayed another famous theatrical Annie in Annie Get Your Gun. In her show 70s & Sunny, which she brought to Chris Isaacson’s Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood on February 13, McArdle sang songs from many of those shows plus a few from shows she probably has on her bucket list. Taking the stage in a peekaboo black jumpsuit that looked like something Sandy would wear for the finale of Grease, memories of that little orphan were quickly banished. Constantly threatened by a costume malfunction that was determined to expose her girls, McArdle displayed a great sense of humor about herself, her career and life in general. Her patter immediately won the audience over and had them eating out of her hand. She was in great voice and her acting prowess made such ballads as “As Long as He Needs Me,” “Over the Rainbow,” “It Might as Well Be Spring” deeply touching. She could really belt out the power ballads like “I Dreamed a Dream” as well as deliver quiet numbers like “Rainy Days and Mondays” and Leon Russell’s “Superstar.” She packed on the energy and the verve for such upbeat, up tempo songs as “A Lot of Livin’ to Do” and “Everybody Says Don’t.” She really put the bitter into “Wherever He Ain’t.” She gave a great audition to be in a Sondheim show with her powerful rendition of “Being Alive.” It was a long, tune-filled, laugh-filled evening spent with a charming, talented performer. Steve Marzullo provided great accompaniment on piano.
Anthony Fedorov opened for McArdle accompanying himself on guitar for four songs, giving him a troubadour/folksinger vibe. He led off with “One Song Glory” from Rent which he did recently off-Broadway. He also sang two songs he wrote for his upcoming album. His American Idol roots showed in his style of soft singing followed by a big belt, mostly delivered with his eyes tightly closed. Hopefully he stayed for McArdle’s turn at the mic and learned how to effortlessly deliver the goods.