Defying Gravity

16 February 2016 | 1:07 pm | Danielle O'Donohue

"Though Foster is still quite a few years off grand dame status, her star power was obvious."

Judging by the volume of squeals from young musical theatre fans, imported talent Sutton Foster and Aaron Tveit probably thought they were the stars of Defying Gravity, an Australian tribute concert to composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell).

But Tony Award-winning Broadway veteran Betty Buckley proved them wrong when she performed a trio of numbers late in the show ending with the night's highlight, the stunning Meadowlark from The Baker's Wife. Buckley's rendition brought the crowd straight to their feet.

Though Foster is still quite a few years off grand dame status, her star power was obvious. She was given the pick of the songs, from Pocahontas ballad Just Around The Riverbend to Wicked's showstopper Defying Gravity which Foster absolutely nailed.

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Tveit's clear, clean voice made him a perfect choice for many of the leading man numbers but it was a shame local export David Harris didn't get a few extra solo numbers especially after his cheeky duet with Tveit, All For The Best (Godspell) got the predominantly young female crowd's hearts a-racin'.

Helen Dallimore's sass made It's An Art a comedy delight and Joanna Ampil stole the first half with a subtly wonderful Lion Tamer. And even Schwartz himself joined this star-studded line-up on piano for the closer, Godspell's hit Day By Day.

It's rare for Australian musical theatre audiences to get the chance to see such big international names share a bill but after the success of Defying Gravity it's obvious theatre audiences are more than happy to pay for the privilege.