Laura Osnes: Dream A Little Dream
Live at the Café Carlisle
Performer: Laura Osnes
Distributed By: Broadway Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I was first introduced to the amazing voice of Laura Osnes when I was invited to review the Original Cast Recording of the musical Bonnie & Clyde. Strikingly beautiful, playful yet sultry, Laura Osnes' voice on that album was captivating and I marveled at the fact that, with all of the Broadway musical soundtracks I had received in the past, I hadn't heard her voice before. I remember thinking that this was one theatrical performer that should really put out their own album. Well, it wasn't long before I learned that there was one out there.
Released on September 18, 2012, Laura Osnes: Dream A Little Dream - Live at the Café Carlisle is an album featuring songs recorded live during Laura Osnes' appearance at the Café Carlisle in June 2012. Consisting of songs from Broadway, movies and the Great American Songbook, Dream A Little Dream features songs performed by Laura Osnes with the musical sounds of Fred Lassen (also the Musical Director of this engagement) on piano, Marc Copely on guitars, Pete Donovan on bass and Larry Lelli on drums. The album also features special singing guests including Jeremy Jordan, Tom Wopat and husband Nathan Johnson.
I can only imagine how entertaining this show must have been in person and wonder if a DVD of this engagement will ever be marketed. Based on the fun it seemed the audience was having and the fun I had in listening to the album, I'd say that a DVD would be highly marketable. This is not just a compilation of songs performed by a Broadway performer - I've reviewed those before. No, Dream A Little Dream is unique in that Laura Osnes doesn't just sing to her audience, she speaks to them and weaves the songs into the stories she tells.
Things start off with her signature song from Bonnie & Clyde, How 'Bout A Dance. Then Osnes reveals how nervous she was to perform in this famous locale without the benefit of a costume and other performers around her before breaking into I Have Confidence from The Sound of Music. We then learn a little about Osnes' performing days as a youngster mixed in with performances of Till There Was You, a song from The Music Man, and the medley Born to Entertain/Don't Rain on My Parade.
Until listening to this album, I never realized that Laura Osnes' big break was an NBC reality show. Known as Small Town Sandy on Grease: You're the One That I Want, she eventually won the role of Sandy and performed it from 2007-2008. Of course, that story leads to a performance of Fever, a song she sang on the reality show that wowed the audience. We then learn about how Laura met her husband Nathan Johnson as understudies for Aladdin. This leads to a duet performance of A Whole New World, followed by a solo performance by Osnes of All the Things You Are from the musical Very Warm for May.
We then are treated to a performance of the timeless winter classic, It's Cold Outside by Laura Osnes and Tom Wopat. It's quirky and not my favorite rendition, but I just love this song and I could tell the performers were really having fun with it. This is followed by a heartfelt rendition of I Think It's Going to Rain Today, a song I have always liked since hearing it performed by Bette Midler in Beaches. Laura Osnes then breaks into an enjoyable and unique country version of Norah Jones' Sunrise.
Following this track, we are introduced to Laura Osnes' costar from Bonnie & Clyde, Jeremy Jordan. The two talk about their friendship and their competitiveness which begs for the duet Anything You Can Do from Annie Get Your Gun. I thoroughly enjoyed this version of the song and I fervently wish that I could have seen it performed as it sounded like Laura and Jeremy were really enjoying this duet. The audience was sure getting a kick out of it. This is followed by Laura's performance of her favorite Frank Wildhorn song, Must Be My Lucky Day. Then Laura dedicates a song to her recently deceased mother and I realized I needed a tissue. I first heard the song When Somebody Loved Me on Toy Story 2 and I teared up back then. Laura Osnes' version may be even more haunting than Sarah McLaughlin's version and brought those tears right up.
Probably sensing how emotional people might get after that song, the very next song is an upbeat Blues Medley, followed by the sultry Dream A Little Dream of Me. The bonus track on the album is from Laura Osnes' last performance at the Café Carlisle. For that final audience, Laura performed In My Own Little Corner from Cinderella, a show she will be starring in on Broadway in January 2013.
I knew that Laura Osnes' voice was amazing and that she would be a performer I wanted to watch before I ever listened to this album. But after hearing Laura Osnes: Dream A Little Dream - Live at the Café Carlisle, there is no way anyone could deny that Laura Osnes is a star on the rise. This album really showcases her diversity as a performer and her ability to captivate an audience and hold them in her siren sway. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be hearing much more from Osnes in the future and I urge any fan of Broadway musicals or Laura Osnes herself to get their hands on this album - you won't be disappointed!