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Pop Musice Review

Linda Eder Flaunts Expressive Voice in a Stirring Set at the Wilshire

May 10, 1999|DARYL H. MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A voice like Linda Eder's is rare, the sensitivity to use it to its fullest rarer still.

The possessor of a big voice and interpretational style that earn her constant comparisons to Streisand, Eder made a concert visit to the Wilshire Theatre on Saturday in the wake of her breakthrough Broadway success in husband Frank Wildhorn's "Jekyll & Hyde" and an enthusiastically received PBS special.

Devoting herself largely to her husband's compositions--including songs from "J&H," "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and the in-development "Havana"--she pointed up the synchronicity of their collaboration.

His propulsive pop anthems are perfectly calibrated to set off her vocal pyrotechnics, and she delivers them with a keen sense of when to drop to a dusky whisper, when to open up full. In one of the evening's most thrilling pairings, she conveyed hushed yearning in "J&H's" "Someone Like You," ending in a high, pure pianissimo, then roared through the lusty "Bring on the Men," cut from the Broadway version of that show.

Noticeably pregnant in her velvet gown, Eder made humorous reference to an expectant mom's ravenous appetite, turning to pianist-musical director Jeremy Roberts at one point to say: "I told that pizza delivery guy to show up after three songs. . . ." During one of several exultant standing ovations at the concert's close, a fan tried to help out by handing her not flowers but a danish.

Atrocious miking nearly ruined the evening, however, hollowing out and muddying Eder's voice and often leaving it overwhelmed by the eight-member band. The Wilshire's proprietors are attempting to get more use out of the tiers of cabaret tables installed for the recently closed musical "Cabaret," but this theater has some of the worst acoustics in the city--making it much less than ideal as a concert venue.

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