Emmy nominee Cynthia Erivo (“Genius: Aretha”) wowed the audience on Friday as she took to the stage for the first time ever at the Hollywood Bowl. Maria and I attended via Nat Geo, which is hoping to spread the word about Erivo as Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin in the limited series.
My colleague Jazz Tangcay was there as well, and filed this report:
Titled “Legendary Voices,” the night included covers of Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Nina Simone and Roberta Flack, as well as selections from Erivo’s upcoming debut release, “Ch.1 Vs.1.”Read Jazz’s full report here.
Erivo took to the stage shortly after 8 p.m. in a breathtaking white gown with puff sleeves that looked liked roses. It was the talk of the night — after her dazzling performance, of course.
What better way to kick off a Hollywood Bowl debut than with a dynamic rendition of Barbara Streisand’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” backed by the orchestra giving the song a full philharmonic treatment? It was the only Broadway number Erivo would sing.
The empowering night of jazz, soul, classics and a sprinkle of Broadway ended on a fabulous high note – Aretha Franklin.
Erivo starred in National Geographic’s “Genius: Aretha,” which scored her first Emmy nomination for lead actress in a limited or anthology series or movie. There were voting members in the audience, and Erivo may have just secured a few votes after her remarkable setlist, whether they’ve seen the series or not. Her belting ability was on full display.
She sent the crowd home on a high note with a successful adaptation of Franklin’s “Freeway of Love.” The audience didn’t want to leave, but with the Bowl’s strict curfew of 11 p.m. not too far off, they had no choice. She offered an encore and a cartwheel to end the night.