The sky’s the limit for Janet Krupin, superstar in the making, who followed her L.A.’s Next Great Stage Star 2010 victory with a sensational cabaret debut that people will be talking about in years to come.

Returning Saturday to Sterling’s Upstairs At Vitello’s, the scene of her Next Stage Star triumph, Janet dazzled the audience of friends and fans with a baker’s dozen mostly Broadway hits done so differently that her hour-long set more than earned its title, Rhapsody In New.

Appearing first in full cap and gown, Janet quickly stripped down to a slinky white minidress to belt out a bawdy “Look At Me Now” from Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party, accompanied by the brilliant young musical director Michael Alfera on piano.

“What’s so fearsome about making a career in musical theater?” wondered Janet before responding buoyantly with “I Have Confidence” from the movie adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The  Sound Of Music. Next up was “There But For You Go I” from Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon, sung torchy and syncopated as never before, proving that Janet’s promise to “change your expectations of what these songs are going to sound like” was not made in jest.  

Janet and Michael may be the first duo ever to combine “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miz with Beyonce’s “Halo”—to stunning effect. “Old Fashioned Love Story,” from The Wild Party again, had Janet in lipstick lesbian mode, the perfect punch line to an anecdote about being unwittingly hit upon by a gal-loving gal at the gay piano bar The Other Side.
From dyke to poodle diva, Janet demonstrated both her ultra high belt and her coloratura high notes in “Il Cane Del Opera,” from her recent smash appearance as Chanel in CLO of South Bay Cities production of Bark.  Bringing it down a bit, Janet sang a touching cover of Ray Charles’ “You Don’t Know Me.” A jazzy, bluesy “Down With Love” featured snippets of the kind of love songs the song’s writer wanted “down with,” including musical phrases from The Last Five Years, Dreamgirls, and The Light In The Piazza.

I’d venture to guess that no one has ever sung “Over The Rainbow” as Janet did, torchily transposed from major to minor by Alfera in a brilliant new arrangement, exquisitely sung. Joined by talented 19-year-old Noah Hunt (“I’ve known him since he was in 1st grade”) on acoustic guitar, Janet sang a version of Wicked’s “As Long As You’re Mine,” once again “like it’s never been done before.”  Jerry Herman’s “I Won’t Send Roses” (from Mack And Mabel) became “He Won’t Send Roses,” sung intimately, from the heart, and entirely differently from the original.

Janet concluded her set with the song which won her the Next Great Stage Star competition, Kander And Ebb’s “How Lucky Can You Get,” but audience applause demanded an encore, which Janet provided. 

Opening “If I Love You” from Rodgers And Hammerstein’s Carousel in her legit voice (as Julie Jordan would sing it), Janet transitioned invisibly midway through into her pop belt, which sent tears streaming down this reviewer’s face.

Now all Janet has to do is decide—musical theater, pop, opera, and who knows, maybe even a straight play or non-musical movie here or there? We should all have such difficult choices to make!

Janet Krupin: Rhapsody In New
Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s
4349 Tujunga Avenue
Studio City

–Steven Stanley
May 15, 2010


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