Well. Thankfully my fears were unfounded: she raised the rooftop, baby. Much more comfortable (and less "staged") than her "Coulda Shoulda Woulda" performances in Chicago, though there was nary a showtune in sight. Proof that one shouldn't be judged by an album cover (which is o so posed and self-serious, and the foundation for most of my fears).
The Tribune reviewer of Ravinia's production of Passion said that she'd finally gotten over that "Andrew Lloyd Webber...impulse to kill, kill, kill," which for the most part is true. She's seldom subtle, but seemingly more in tune now with what—or more precisely how much—is needed. Indeed, the lady does not hesitate to belt when belting is required, and she knows how to tell a story with a song: "Something Cool," "Frankie and Johnny," "A Cottage for Sale," "The Other Woman," "I Regret Everything," "C'est Magnifique," "I Love Paris," and on and on and on (including "I Had a Little Sorrow," with lyrics by "that Billboard chart-topper, Edna St. Vincent Millay"). The audience loved it; Sarah and I loved it from our front-row seats (funny how Row C doesn't mean third row anymore). The 10-piece band was phenomenal, and we got to enjoy a lovely glass of red wine in the lobby of the Vivian Beaumont afterwards while we watched her pose for photogs with most of the Sweeney cast. They tell us our signed Playbills and CDs are in the mail—we'll see about that. I'll be thinking three or four times about signing up for the after-show receptions from now on—it was more of a stand-and-watch than anything else—but I can't complain. I'd stand and watch The Patti do just about anything. You know, in the appropriate public forum. Because she still scares the crap out of me.