How many chances do islanders have, at local concerts, to close their eyes and imagine themselves ensconced in a sumptuous New York City supper club, listening to a Broadway star serving up songs in a shimmering soprano voice?
All this and more may be possible when acclaimed songstress Christine Andreas, joined by her Grammy-nominated husband and accompanist, composer Martin Silvestri, takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Vashon Center for the Arts.
Andreas’ concert, “Love Is Good,” is being described by the arts center as “a shared musical valentine” filled with classic love songs — everything from light pop to show tunes to the emotional roller-coaster of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose.”
In The New York Times, music critic Stephen Holden has rhapsodized about the show, which he caught in 2014 at the club 54 Below, in the heart of Manhattan. He described Andreas’ renditions of “He Loves Me,” “I Love Paris” and “On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)” as “bright explosions of pure joy” and said her engagement with her music was so deep and infectious that “you feel as though you are living the song with her.”
Andreas first burst on the scene as Eliza Doolittle in the 20th-anniversary production of “My Fair Lady,” for which she won a Theatre World Award. This was followed by Tony-nominated turns as Laurey in “Oklahoma,” working with Billy Hammerstein and Agnes de Mille and as Frankie Frayne in “On Your Toes,” directed by the legendary George Abbott. That latter show previewed at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre.
Andreas last appeared on Broadway in the Tony/Olivier Award-winning production of “La Cage Aux Folles” with Kelsey Grammer, after starring as Margaret Johnson in the much-acclaimed national tour of “The Light in the Piazza,” which included a stop at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre.
She has sung in concert at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Town Hall and the Kennedy Center Jazz Festival, to name a few prestigious venues. Now, in her concert work, Holden said that Andreas “remains a great beauty, but the sensibility she conveys is the determination and free spirit of a strong- willed woman eager to take chances.”
Andreas’ Vashon appearance — an exclusive Pacific Northwest engagement — is the result of behind-the-scenes wrangling by Kevin Hoffberg, VCA’s executive director. Hoffberg said he first dreamed about bringing Andreas and Silvestri to Vashon several years ago after he heard them perform in a private concert in Palm Springs.
“I cried at least twice, and she had only sung four songs,” Hoffberg said. “She has a voice like none other, and it will be thrilling to hear her in our performance hall.”
While on Vashon, Andreas will also share her insights and talent with young island musical theater students who recently completed VCA’s first-ever Broadway Boot Camp, held in collaboration with the 5th Avenue Theatre. Teenaged thespians who took part in the camp will be treated with a workshop with Andreas shortly before her performance on Saturday.
In a phone interview, Andreas peppered a reporter with questions about the population of Vashon and the arts center where she would perform, and also offered up warm reminiscences about her famous friends and collaborators, including George Abbot, Dina Merrill, and Hal and Eunice David.
Best of all though, was her willingness to explain the deeply moving backstory of her collaboration with her composer husband.
“Love Is Good” was the first collaboration between Silvestri and Andreas, who began their life in love and music together in the early 1990s when Andreas was the single mother of a young, special-needs son — a circumstance that challenged her ability to perform eight times a week in Broadway shows.
“I wasn’t sure how to figure it out, so I kind of looked up to heaven, and I met this guy, and we started concertizing,” she said. “We were very simpatico musically, right at the top of our getting together.”
Silvestri — a virtuoso pianist and accordionist — is perhaps best known for his role in bringing “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” to the Broadway stage, serving as the show’s music arranger and orchestrator. “Love Is Good,” Andreas said, has constantly evolved since the couple debuted it in a command White House concert for George H.W. Bush.
“The piece came together as we were falling in love with making music together and falling in love with each other,” she said.
Now, having performed “Love Is Good” together for many years, Andreas said the show is still grounded in the idea of “two people existing in music.” Humor, a foundation of the couple’s marriage, is also a part of the show, she said.
She also spoke enthusiastically about her new ventures, which include an upcoming tour of “Piaf: No Regrets,” a new album and concert she has developed about the famous French chanteuse, and another work she is currently developing — a concert act called “And So It Goes.” That show, she said, would be filled with songs “about life and love, lost and found.” The all-encompassing theme of the show, she said, could be easily explained.
“The secret is that I hate themes,” she said. “So I try to find a theme that allows me to sing anything I want.”
Tickets for “Love Is Good” range from $22 to $45; buy them in advance at vashoncenterforthearts.org. Sponsors for the concert are Windermere and Sarah and Jerry Matthews.