I can scarcely believe a couple of weeks have gone by since I caught Megan Hilty’s performance at the Theatre Royal, but it was a performance so strong that my memory has barely faded.
The press releases surrounding her maiden Australian tour promised a journey through the Great American Songbook, but her set featured much more than standards. She opened with “Keep Moving the Line,” from the TV series Smash, the first thing that brought her to my attention. As an ardent fan of the series, I was thrilled to hear more of its songs peppering the set, such as “Mr. And Mrs. Smith,” “Let Me Be Your Star,” and the breathtaking “Second Hand White Baby Grand.”
Most of Megan’s career has seen her on the stage rather than the small screen, so it was only fitting that her Broadway turns were acknowledged too with “Popular” from Wicked, “Backwoods Barbie” from 9 to 5, and “Suddenly, Seymour” from the role that got away in Little Shop of Horrors. Stories like the incidences surrounding the part endeared Megan to the already enamored crowd. She spoke in glowing terms of meeting Dolly Parton when cast in her musical and working alongside Idina Menzel and Katherine McPhee and regaled us of personal stories of life with her daughter and husband, the very dishy Brian Gallagher who plays guitar in her exceptional band.
There were the promised standards like “Almost Like Being in Love,” “That’s Life,” and “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” a lovely nod to her time channelling Marilyn as Ivy Lynn in Smash. Don Henley’s “Heart of the Matter” didn’t quite seem to gel with the jazz and show tunes, but it’s such a great song I didn’t really mind. Closing with “Rainbow Connection,” a song she plays nightly for her daughter, left us all feeling warm and fuzzy inside.
No matter what Megan treated us to, it was exquisite. She has such a stunning voice, and her Broadway training sees her connecting to the songs in a way few artists do when singing covers.
This was a fleeting visit for Megan, who had to catch a plane the next day to attend the Tony Awards. She assured us she loved our city and wants to come back for a longer stay. I hope she’s a woman of her word, because I think I speak on behalf of everyone at the Theatre Royal when I say we’d welcome her back with open arms.
The venue didn’t allow photography, so here’s a video so you can all see how amazing she is!