Tall, dark-haired, and gorgeous, Anne Fraser Thomas is one of our finest, and most unique, musical theater talents—as Monday’s standing room only crowd at Hollywood’s Magic Castle can certainly attest to. Over the course of an eclectic hour of song and magic (of the musical sort), Anne took her devoted family, friends, and fans on a musical journey through her life from her early years as a multi-ethnic wunderkind (there wasn’t a lesson or class young Anne wasn’t taking) up through her present day bicoastal life.

Beginning with what could easily be called the Anne Fraser Thomas anthem, “Live Out Loud” from The Little Mermaid, Anne segued into “Too Pretty,” Katie Thompson’s hilarious ode to any actress who’s ever put in time as a waitress—as if a statuesque beauty like Anne could ever be “too pretty” or “too talented” or “too extraordinary” for anything.

With Anne’s multitalented husband of six years/musical director Daniel Thomas, on piano, Anne quite appropriately next sang a medley of Christina Aguilera’s R&B flavored “Ain’t No Other Man” and Stephen Sondheim’s oh-so-romantic “So Many People.”

Anne’s life as a musical theater leading lady began with her award-winning starring role as Rose Alvarez in Bye Bye Birdie … at the Westminster Theater. Not exactly the Shubert on Broadway, but it was a start, as Anne proceeded to demonstrate with a musical résumé of her many roles including snippets from “The King And I,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Man Of La Mancha,” “Les Misérables”—prompting Anne to quip that she sure has played a lot of sad, depressing parts.

Georgia Stitt’s “Big Wings” expressed Anne’s growing desire to try her luck in the Big Apple, despite well meaning friends whose occasionally discouraging words inspired her to pick Sondheim’s “Everybody Says Don’t” as the next song on the evening’s set.

Fortunately, husband Daniel proved the biggest supporter of Anne’s big dreams, sending her off to New York eight months ago with his love and his blessing.

Awaiting Anne were audition after audition after audition, far more than any L.A. based musical theater performer could possibly imagine. Anne’s “Ethnic Audition Medley” (arranged by Andrew Byrne) provided Anne with the chance to let her audience in on just how wild and wacky some of these auditions can be, in addition to showcasing the amazing versatility of Anne’s magnificent vocal instrument. From operatic soprano to big high Broadway belt to soul singer extraordinaire, Anne can do it all as this medley proved. (A big highlight of the medley was the Asian mini-medley which featured everything from Tuptim to Marcy Park to Christmas Eve, and the Other Ethnicities mini-medley, which included her killer rendition of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”)

After singing the New York City-inspired “Breathe” (from In The Heights, with Kristen Lamoureux on flute), Anne went on to describe her efforts to create her very own niche for herself in New York by working with young writers of new musicals in various workshops and showcases. One of these writers is her New York roomie Brandon James Gwinn, whose “Diva Song” proved a hilarious show-stopper, especially when guest vocalist Cassandra Murphy barged onto the stage, mike in hand, to take over the song, followed by special guest # 2 Amy Gillette. (All a set-up, of course, leading to all three divas belting to the rafters.)

Anne, Cassie, and Amy followed this with an ingeniously conceived and thrillingly performed “Home Medley,” Anne singing “Home” from The Wiz, Amy “Home” from Kopit and Yeston’s Phantom, and Cassie “Home” from Beauty And The Beast, one by one, and then, spectacularly, all together, accompanied by Allen Everman on piano.

The evening concluded memorably with “The Gift” (with Kristen on flute again) and Anne’s encore of “the song that started it all,” “I Got Love,” from Purlie.

A pair of well deserved standing ovations marked a fitting climax to Anne Fraser Thomas’ unforgettable evening of song.

The Band: Daniel Thomas/piano; David Lamoureux/drums; Jordan Lamoureux/bass; Dave Takahashi/cello

Additional direction by Nick DeGruccio and Michael Betts
Anne’s hair by Erik McEwen

The Magic Castle
June 7, 2010

Anne Fraser Thomas on YouTube

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