Dreams - Songs from the Stars
There is always a fear of Golden
Throats camp factor when actors start to picture themselves as singers.
Beyond the fact that they are trying a new art form that they are not
necessarily talented in, actors have had a tendency to oversell music.
This CD, which is essentially a series of lullabies and tributes to
children, is particularly susceptible to maudlin tendencies.
Therefore it is a nice surprise that
Unexpected Dreams is actually a rather pretty and restrained cabaret
tribute to parenthood. In fact, it rather feels like a cast album for
a musical that just hasn't been released yet. If it does occasionally
get sappy, that is due to the subject matter. Nothing can turn an
adult into a simpering romantic more quickly than a child.
McCormack (Will and Grace) got his start on Broadway, John Stamos has
toured with the Beach Boys. All of them do sweetly restrained and
heartfelt versions of their songs – Sade's "The Sweetest Gift, "Lullabye in
Ragtime," Elton John's "The Greatest Discovery" and Billy Joel's "Lullaby
(Goodnight My Angel)" in order.However, there are a series of restrained
and passionate performances coming here from some rather unexpected sources.
Some of these actors we already knew could sing. Ewan McGregor has
sung in films, John C. Reilly was a scene-stealer in
More interesting are the actors you just
wouldn't expect it from. Scarlett Johansson's natural tendency towards
slight detachment works stunningly in her version of George Gershwin's
"Summertime." Jennifer Garner also has a surprisingly subtle and
virile voice, as does Jeremy Irons.
And who would have ever thought that Lucy
Lawless (Xena) could sing?
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss continues her
ongoing attempt to keep her husband Brad Hall employed by doing a pretty version of his
song "Nightshift." Nia Vardales does a sweet cover of the Beatles'
"Golden Slumbers" before the album closes out on a nice note with Teri
Hatcher's "Good Night."
I'm not going to lie, Unexpected Dreams has a lot
more to offer children and parents than to those of us who are neither.
However, it makes for a sweet listen either way. (6/06)