In a true “once a theater kid, always a theater kid” moment, Ariana Grande performed “Still Hurting” from The Last Five Years on Monday night. Grande — who was a teenage Broadway star, in case you did not know — was part of the lineup for a remote edition of one of Jason Robert Brown’s SubCulture series concerts. The pair worked together when Grande was a kid and starred in Brown’s Broadway show Thirteen the Musical.
We here at Vulture had lots of suggestions for Grande leading up to the performance. Namely that we’d like to hear her do a Carolee Carmello impression or sing something a little less obvious from Brown’s songbook. She, as you already know, opted for obvious. It was still, as you probably already also know, delightful. Brown, clearly taking inspiration from Donna Murphy’s performance during Sondheim’s 90th birthday concert, accompanies her at the piano beside a single lit candle. Come for the glowing ambiance, stay for the reminder that Ariana Grande’s vocal control is world caliber. (Also stay for the 26:33 minute mark where she riffs on “what about you-ooo” and you’ll find yourself nodding, oh, yes, there she is.) Honestly, this is the closest I’ve ever felt to Grande. Who among us hasn’t locked ourselves in a room at home and belted out “Still Hurting.”
Additional highlights included the ever-excellent Shoshana Bean and a cameo performance from Brown’s family. His wife Georgia Stitt, who is likewise a composer-lyricist, and the couple’s two daughters sang backup for Brown’s opening number because yes this is one of those families where everyone is musically gifted instead of one of those families where the only thing everyone has in common is a shellfish allergy. You can watch the whole concert below.
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