MasterVoices will bring its 75th anniversary season to a close in grand fashion – with a performance of Victor Herbert’s Babes in Toyland at Carnegie Hall and will feature the MasterVoices chorus, Kelli O’Hara, Bill Irwin, Lauren Worsham, and Christopher Fitzgerald, along with Orchestra of St. Luke’s. I caught up with Worsham who was Tony nominated for her performance in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder about bringing the show back to the stage.
Babes in Toyland premiered in New York in 1903 and has gone on to become a film and a fan favorite. What excites you the most about bringing a show that’s more than 100 years old back to New York?
This cast just checks every box for me. Kelli O’Hara has the voice of an angel, Chris is the funniest man on earth, and – although I don’t know Bill Irwin personally – I’m a fan of his…particularly Old Hats! As for the piece itself, the score is a tasty jewel filled with nostalgia and magic. In order to endure the bizarre and frequently devastating time we are experiencing – art in every shape and form is more important than ever. I’m excited to be on stage with friends singing beautiful music with a fantastic choir led by a killer conductor, all while making people smile and laugh.
How does something like this concert presentation of a show challenge you as a performer?
I think the challenge comes with not relying too heavily on the score in front of you. I always end up memorizing much more than I expected because if my nose is stuck in my book, I’m not really “there” and I’m certainly not telling the right story.
Generations grew up with the film of Babes in Toyland. What musicals/films did you grow up with that inspired you to become a performer?
I was obsessed with Annie when I was a child. I wanted to be orphan Annie. my poor parents! My mother introduced me to movie musicals from a young age. Besides Annie, I was also enamored with The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Gigi and Victor, Victoria.
How have they had a lasting effect on you?
More than anything, growing up watching those iconic films cemented my love of musical theater. Without that foundation, that love, I don’t think I would have had the perseverance to continue in this career path.
What’s next for you?
I have a concert with my band Sky-Pony going up as part of NYFOS Next on May 10th and in early June I will be doing a few concerts as part of 92nd St Y’s “Lyrics & Lyricists” series focusing on Lerner and Loewe.