This weekend, two celebrated singers will take the stage at Vashon Center for the Arts, each offering up emotive concerts that are sure to astound islanders. Don’t miss these flawless divas in their rare island appearances.
Christine Andreas sings Piaf on March 7
Christine Andreas, a bona fide Broadway diva who performed at VCA last fall, will return to the arts center to celebrate the life and music of “the Little Sparrow,” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7, with songs including “La Vie En Rose.”
Andreas’ show, “Piaf, No Regrets,” sung in French and English, will be peppered with Piaf’s own words in monologues by dramaturge Drew Harris. She will be joined on stage by her Grammy-nominated husband, Martin Silvestri, a composer, arranger and musical director who will accompany her on piano and accordion.
In The New York Times, music critic Stephen Holden has rhapsodized about Andreas, comparing the experience of hearing her sing to “bright explosions of pure joy” and said her engagement with her music is so deep and infectious that “you feel as though you are living the song with her.”
Of Andreas’ rendition of Piaf songs, Holden has said that hers is the “most thrilling rendition of ‘La Vie en Rose’ this side of Edith Piaf.”
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.”
Tickets range in price from $50 to $20, at vashoncenterforthearts.org. To find out more about Andreas, visit christineandreas.com.
Iris DeMent on March 8
Iris DeMent, a singer and songwriter who has released six studio albums in an illustrious career, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at VCA.
DeMent regularly draws big crowds for her concerts — in which she commands the stage with only her voice and piano accompaniment. In recent years, she has sold out Zoo Tunes, Triple Door and other venues in Seattle.
In 2020, she rang in the New Year performing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry with
John Prine, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats.
Beginning with her 1992 debut, “Infamous Angel,” which was hailed as “an essential album of the 1990s” by Rolling Stone, DeMent released a series of stellar records that established her as “one of the finest singer-songwriters in America,” according to The Guardian.
According to National Public Radio, ”Iris DeMent makes music that celebrates humanity’s efforts toward salvation while acknowledging that most of our time on Earth is spent reconciling with the fact that we don’t feel so redeemed. Grounded in hymns, early country songs, gospel and folk, DeMent’s work is treasured by those who know it for its insight and unabashed beauty.”
The music has earned her multiple Grammy nominations, as well as the respect of collaborators such as John Prine, Steve Earle, and Emmylou Harris. Merle Haggard dubbed her “the best singer I’ve ever heard” and asked her to join his touring band, and David Byrne and Natalie Merchant covered her “Let The Mystery Be” as a duet on MTV Unplugged.
DeMent’s 2012 album, “Sing The Delta,” prompted NPR to call her “one of the great voices in contemporary popular music.”
Her newest album, “The Trackless Woods,” is inspired by the poetry of Russian writer Anna Akhmatova. DeMent and her husband, the well-known singer and songwriter Greg Brown, live in Iowa City with their adopted, Russian-born daughter.
Tickets to the show range in price from $30 to $50; buy them at vashoncenterforthearts.org. To find out more about Iris DeMent, visit irisdement.com.