BWW Reviews: Disney's Dreamy Juliana Hansen Makes Dynamic Cabaret Debut
On Sunday September 30 beautiful theatre star Juliana Hansen debuted her one-woman cabaret at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal. Directed by dynamic Bruce Kimmel and with sleek musical direction from A.J. Robb, Hansen literally had her audience eating out of her palm from the very top of the 70-minute gig. Ultra confident and never missing a beat, Hansen segued from song to story to song seemlessly. Her voice is as pure and fragile as porcelain - it is so beautiful, like that of Julie Andrews or Kristen Chenoweth, that she is a recording artist's dream, a true singer's singer. In her young career, she has been requested by Academy Award winning composer Richard B. Sherman to sing internationally for Disney in Concert and to premiere songs cut from MARY POPPINS.
For this very special cabaret evening Hansen selected a variety of lilting as well as comedic songs that more than gave testimony to her tremendous versatility. She opened on a high note with "Cockeyed Optimist", followed by "Much More" from The Fantasticks and then essayed a delightful Princess medley, which included "Belle", "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" and "A Happy Working Song" by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, which she originally premiered live in 2009 prior to the release of the Disney film Enchanted. Speaking of her love for Audrey Hepburn, she sang a gorgeous version of "Moon River" from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's followed by two equally beautiful songs that never became famous as they are from the musical show Breakfast at Tiffany's, which abruptly closed prior to Broadway. She offered Charlie Chaplin's "Smile", a terrific Sherman Brothers medley, which included her favorite and mine "Feed the Birds", a sensational "Disneyland", which rightfully won her a Spotlight Award as a senior in high school, "Gimme Gimme" from Thoroughly Modern Millie and closed with a song you would expect a soprano of her calibre to sing "Over the Rainbow". Silk, satin, gossamer, all come to mind! What was more exciting for me, however, were the numbers that you would not expect her to sing, like Ado Annie's "I Can't Say No" from Oklahoma, The Beach Boys eclectically dreamy "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and David Friedman's oh so funny, funny "Simple Christmas Wish", which takes sweetness and turns it inside out. Talk about versatility; I would love to see Miss Hansen play Louise in Gypsy. She's a very sweet gal with a lot of guts and moxy, who can do it all exceedingly well.
Don't miss Juliana Hansen wherever she appears. She's a singer's singer with a great future ahead on record, on stage, and now in cabaret.
- Don Grigware [ Direct link to article ]
JJuliana Hansen - Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal
uliana Hansen’s bright-eyed optimism was on display from her opening number of “A Cock-eyed Optimist,” through a number of Disney songs and scattered throughout her autobiographical patter. Displaying a crystal-clear voice with a wide range that she moves through effortlessly, Hansen was a joy to listen to. She is right at home with the Disney material having sung it in various situations and, as she stressed in her patter, she has been obsessed with all things Disney since early childhood. [Read more]
JAMES MULLIGAN AND FRIENDS, STERLING'S UPSTAIRS AT VITELLO'S
"The high point of the entire evening involved...Juliana Hansen, a beautiful girl with a winning personality and gorgeous voice. Her solo rendition of Sherman’s “Lovely, Lonely Man” was exquisite. When Juliana and James joined forces for the powerful duet from” Miss Saigon”: “Last Night Of The World”… the evening really took hold." [Read more]
"TWO'S COMPANY": A TRIBUTE TO ALAN MENKEN AND STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
"A plethora of transcendent vocal artists gathered to celebrate the songs of award-winning tunesmiths Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz and to raise funds to support the venerable Los Angeles City College Theater Academy. Helmed with seamless fluidity by Academy alumnus Bruce Kimmel, the songfest was spurred on by the enthusiastic but economical hosting of another alumnus, thesp Cindy Williams.
A hilariously perky Juliana Hansen showcased "A Happy Work Song," from the upcoming Schwartz/Menken bigscreen collaboration, "Enchanted."
A MARVELOUS 'DREAM'
The Davis Enterprise
"Juliana Ashley Hansen plays Eponine, hopelessly in love with Marius, but realistic about her expectations. Her "On My Own"is beautifully poignant....In fact, just about everything is perfect. This production couldn't be a better harbinger of shows to come, throughout the rest of the Music Circus season."
VENERABLE TRADITION LES MISERABLES
"Andrea Rivette(Fantine) and Juliana Hansen (Eponine) show remarkable depth...Les Mis packs enough emotional punch to make it worthy of opening the season for Music Circus. Venerable play meets venerable tradition- and theatre-goers reap the benefits."
THE FANTASTICKS: A SHOW TO REMEMBER
South Shore Press
"Making her debut on the Gateway stage, Juliana Ashley Hansen plays Luisa, the impetuous 16-year-old daughter of Bellomy. Hansen projects Luisa's childlike innocence with a mixture of grace and comedy. Hansen's soprano voice is captivating and engaging, and as the only female in the cast, her voice truly stands out from those of her colleagues."
-Genevieve Salamone and Jennifer Roller
'BEAST'- A BEAUTY FOR DIRECTION AND CASTING
The Towne Crier
"Whoever cast this show should become one of the judges on American Idol. Juliana Ashley Hansen is absolutely wonderful as Belle. Her voice charms us in numbers like 'Home' and 'A Change in Me.' She is truly a beauty in appearance, but moreover in the way she steals our hearts. It is so easy to fall head over heels for her Belle"
BE BELLE'S GUEST AT FORESTBURGH
"Ms. Hansen brought a warm gentleness to the role of Belle. Her strong acting and vocal skills will make you long to always witness this production as a stage version. Brava!"