She kept saying her set was 75 minutes long, but Broadway performer Eden Espinosa’s show lasted nearly two hours. The full house of obvious fans at The Cabaret on Friday, March 11, did not mind one bit. The star of “Wicked,” “Rent.” and “Falsettos” regaled her enthusiastic audience, singing a setlist that included songs from the singer-songwriter-actor’s albums, Broadway, pop and rock covers.
The last time I saw Espinosa was when she performed at The Cabaret in 2013, when it was located at the Columbia Club. Consequently, I knew what to expect, so I was not surprised that much of her frank, candid and often-spontaneous interaction with her adoring audience consisted of personal and heartfelt stories and anecdotes.
As far as her vocal performance, she’s a classic musical-theatre belter with a broad range, who certainly delivered, but, at times, I noticed surprising pitch problems. As far as her original songs, although she obviously sang them from her heart, they were less than memorable and lacking in luster.
Besides her unique performance of Sting’s “Fields of Gold,” and John Lennon’s “Imagine,” I enjoyed a segment of the show in which she took requests from the enthusiastic audience, which included excerpts from everything from “Rent,” and “Wicked,” to Cole Porter, and “The Sound of Music.”
Also thoroughly enjoyable was the experience of watching and hearing Espinosa’s pianist-music director Rodney Bush, who was very animated and conveyed a gregarious energy throughout the show.
A teaching artist, Espinosa mentioned she had conducted a master class for Ben Davis High School Student that day, but also demonstrated her support of emerging artists by inviting two talented Ball State University students, Jeremiah Smith, who accompanied himself on guitar, and Olivia Broadwater, accompanied by Johnna Tavianini.
In he end, I must acknowledge I have great respect for Espinosa as an artist and appreciation for her talent; I simply did not connect with her as much as most of her audience. Some of it had to do with her song choices, which I found indistinctive. Still, I must give her props for her willingness to be authentic and vulnerable with her audience. That’s a quality not all entertainers possess and speaks well of her humanity.
For tickets and information about upcoming shows at The Cabaret in the 2022 season, visit thecabaret.org.