CATHERINE LAMBERT, Herald Sun
February 21, 2018
THERE may be six productions of Beautiful showing around the world but Melbourne star Esther Hannaford has been declared the best.
The show’s US writer, Douglas McGrath, said today she was unique. “I’ve heard (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman sung many times now,” McGrath said. “The show has been going for five years on Broadway now and there were five years before that to create it so I’ve heard that song a lot but nobody sings it like Esther Hannaford. I just think she’s amazing.” US producer Mike Bosner shared his enthusiasm.
“The amazing thing about Esther is that she puts a new spin on a song every time and finds the vulnerability,” Bosner said. “Every time I see her perform, she’s different because her emotions propel her and that’s what makes her so special.” Hannaford said she was still finding new expression in the music of legendary US composer Carole King. Songs such as You’ve Got a Friend, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and I Feel the Earth Move are just some of the hits featured in the show. “I always try to connect to the lyrics in my heart because that’s the most important thing for me,” Hannaford said.
“I have the technique but as soon as I walk on stage, it’s all about emotion for me so I let go and just connect to the words.”
Beautiful opens on Thursday night at Her Majesty’s Theatre.