I sat front-row center for The Lion King, watching in awe as Heather Headley sang “Shadowlands.” Even though I was still a young theatre-goer, I still knew I was in the presence of greatness.
By the time Aida came around, I was ecstatic to see her again, not because of the Tony but because of the memory she left with me from The Lion King. I was in awe of her talent every moment of Aida. When she first opened her mouth, she sent tingles down my spine, she spoke with such power and authority.
When I read that libretto or listen to that incredible OBCR, specific images and moments from Headley’s performance come to mind. Because Headley is so strong in her speaking and in her singing, it’s easy to see her as just a powerful voice, but she gave Aida warmth and charm as well. She succeeded in the big rock anthems like “The Gods Love Nubia,” but she also highlighted Aida’s softer side, such as in her moments counseling Amneris or in being humbled before her father. I love, love, love that show, and I loved, loved, loved Heather Headley’s performance. It is one of the greatest performances I’ve ever been fortunate enough to experience.
Heather Headley’s two R&B albums were a must-have for me. There are some real gems between the two CDs—“He Is,” “Like Ya Used To,” and “How Many Ways” come to mind as highlights—though, honestly, Headley’s talents demand more Whitney and less Brandy in approach. I’m looking forward to a third CD that will hopefully be dropped with a number of public appearances by Ms. Headley, which never happened with her other two.
Heather Headley is so vastly talented—and beautiful to boot—I don’t know why she hasn’t made inroads into Hollywood. If I was a producer, I’d snatch her up right away and put her in something. With the influx of film musicals heading our way, perhaps she can make some headway like many other R&B performers who have done so without a fraction of the talent.
And I can also dream about the day she returns to Broadway. She’d make a great Elphaba, or maybe she should call up some talented songwriting team and request a musical suited to her talents. We can hope.
the Broadway Mouth
September 10, 2007