BWW Review: Courtney Freed Channels Freddie Mercury in Dazzling DON'T STOP ME NOW
"If you've seen Freed before, perhaps at a Portland Sings! concert or in a musical, you already know what a captivating performer she is. In this show, she positively dazzles, and not just because she's wearing a dress made entirely out of silver sequins. On opening night, from the moment she came out and sang the first few notes of "Take My Breath Away," Freed had the audience in the palm of her hand. That feeling only intensified over the course of about 80 minutes, as she wound her way through 11 songs, interspersed with stories about Freddie Mercury and the impact his music has had on her life. In true cabaret style, there's some comedy, some tragedy, and even a dance bit."
Don’t Stop Me Now—Live On Stage—NW Portland
"But the main attraction is Freed herself, who is a whirlwind of excitement as she travels through more than a dozen songs of Mercury’s, lead singer of Queen, as he travels, through Freed’s extraordinary vocal range, the “road[s] not taken.” He seemed to have experienced it all, drugs, booze, and sex with multiple partners of both genders. And his musical talents never wavered but seemed to grow with these experiences. The tragic end was from Aids but his legend and legacy only grew and Freed is an amazing translator of this. But was he running toward something, or away, or both? And, as any great artist would do, I’m sure Freed has reached deep within herself, her own story, and dipped her artistic pallet infused with her own blood, to enact the “…Mercury Experience.”
I'm about to give away the best-kept musical theatre secret in Portland. Once every few months, a rotating group of incredibly talented singers and actors gets together and puts on a cabaret-style concert. For a big Broadway musical fan like me, this is about as close as it gets to a perfect night.
Happily for us all, the next perfect night will happen on June 7, when Portland Sings! performs songs about family on the set of Artists Repertory Theatre's The Skin of Our Teeth.
The brains behind Portland Sings! is actor, singer, and songwriter Courtney Freed. Before coming to Portland, Freed lived in Chicago and Los Angeles, where there are many opportunities for musical theatre actors to perform, even when they're not in a show. In Portland, however, that isn't the case. Despite the abundance of talent we have in this town, we don't have much of a musical cabaret culture.
Coco & Ruby Variety Hour Makes Musical Past and Present Collide with Joy
Standards like "You're Nobody Til Somebody Loves You" were dynamically mixed with "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" or "Someone to Watch Over Me" with Adele's "Someone Like You". Freed's shining moment was with her own composition "Movie Boy" where she sings to a portrait, a la Garland to Gable. Johnson's is definitely Melissa Etheridge's "Come to My Window" where she tells a soppy story of lost love that is funny, touching and shows off her alluring style. Also on tap were a lovely "You Belong to Me", Adryan Russ' great lyrics on the upbeat "Boogie with My Baby", "A, You're Adorable" and "Dream a Little Dream of Me".
This is a super fun walk down memory lane blended with an unforgettable take on contemp pop featuring two memorable talents, Rebecca Johnson and Courtney Freed. Watch for The Coco & Ruby Variety Hour as it hits the road and makes its way to a venue near you!
Portland Sings Song Crazy at Clackamas Rep!
Clackamas Rep presents Song Crazy: The Greatest Broadway Composers of the 1930s featuring the country's most beloved songwriters and their finest melodies. Join local musical theatre stars Cassi Kohl, Courtney Freed, Norman Wilson and Mont Chris Hubbard as they enchant with delightful tunes.