Feinstein’s at the Nikko, San Francisco, CA, April 22, 2016
Reviewed for Cabaret Scenes by Steve Murray
Last December, two-time Tony nominee Laura Osnes wowed her fans with a selection of songs from her many stage successes. For this return engagement, she showed us the “paths not taken”, roles she auditioned for but did get. Backed by longtime friend and musical director Fred Lassen (Finding Neverland, South Pacific, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Osnes opened with an upbeat rendition of “Not For the Life of Me”(Jeanine Tesori/Dick Scanlan) from Thoroughly Modern Millie, a tune that became her go-to college audition song. The funny love declaration “All for You” (Lynn Ahrens/Stephen Flaherty) from Seussical and the self-titled “Bring It On” (Lin-Manuel Miranda/Tom Kitt/Amanda Green), a song cut from the final production displayed Osnes’ humorous side.
From her screen test for television’s Smash, Laura sang “Let Me Be Your Star” (Marc Shaiman/Scott Wittman) and the Johanna’s lovely ballad “Green Finch and Linnett Bird” (Sondheim) from Sweeney Todd. Osnes possesses a lovely clear soprano buoyed by Lassen’s lyrical accompaniment. It’s easy to see why she was chosen for the roles she did receive, but highlights how competitive her world is after hearing her sing these wonderful songs that went to other singers. Highlights of the show were “When I Fall in Love” (Lindsay Warren Baker/Amanda Jacobs) from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, “There’s a Fine, Fine Line” (Lopez/Marx) from Avenue Q and “Part of Your World” (Menken/Ashman) from Little Mermaid.
A stage and screen career obviously is not just based on ability which Osnes has in spades. From her backstories and timelines, it’s often a matter of schedules and availabilities and perhaps even luck and opportunity. Osnes isn’t crying over spilt milk and this show is definitely not a pity party. She’s done very well for herself and who knows, as the circle turns, she may eventually snag these desirable roles.