Review of Rebecca Codas at Hugh’s Room LIVE by Evan Meena
Rebecca Codas enthralled a diverse audience at Hugh’s Room Live with her natural effervescence and boffola voice. Rocketing to notoriety as one of the top 20 on a reality series called Over the Rainbow, Codas now enthralls audiences with a voice that needs no amplification and if she keeps going on this track, she wiull need no introduction!
Her joyous stint at the cabaret club, Hugh’s Room, begins with Codas, in an elegant black shimmery blazer sharing stories of her emergence into the “Biz.” Rapid-fire chats about her weight, her time with Andrew Lloyd Webber, plus struggles, ambitions, and insecurity, pepper a belter voice that electrified the room – each time. The stereotypical schpiel-line of “every song a showstopper” was pertinent here.
Accompanied by Madeline Smith, conductor of Waitress on Broadway, Rebecca was yes, she fabulous, and yes, her pianist (whose own humility in giving so much room for Rebecca to shine) was fabulous, but what made this show so endearing is that the only person who didn’t know how brilliant Rebecca is … is Rebecca. Self-effacing, gracious, and grateful – complete with nervous smile through stories both joyous and heartbreaking – she would thank someone, from the audience to her education, to the bottle of water she was given and then she would – without taking a preparatory breath – launch into powerful tunes covering multiple genres and styles that would leave us filled with excitement.
Rebecca serenaded with standards like the obligatory “Cabaret” from Cabaret to a clever musical journey from Waitress (of course, considering her pianist) to Adele tunes, which segued into an hilarious tune comparing being overweight to being pregnant, which ended up sounding like a parable about how women are forced to look at themselves these days.
One entry in the program, the song “All I Ask” was particularly touching as Rebecca gave us a whiff of autobiography in the rendition and while the tune offered a colossal range, her trademark belt was beautifully evident.
After the tour-de-force “Only the Strong Survive” ending in a killer final note, she – without a breath – gives herself a B+. Seemed the crowd reaction tilted toured A+. She then ended her show with a group of singers whose own voices were stunning but as back-up to Rebecca made the finale extra joyous. Her encore was ironic. Now, a rising star in the Big Apple, her rendition of New York State of Mind brought tears.
Cabaret performing can be a slippery slope. It’s easy to fall it camp or stereotype of the Grande Dame thus bringing the show to a superficial level. That is NOT the case with Rebecca Codas at all. Her openhearted humility coupled with an extraordinary voice makes her one to watch in the future.