Actors and performers are a versatile lot. There are a ton of wonderful "serious" actors who also have musical chops. Some have let this slip after they achieve fame, like Meryl Streep who started doing musicals in her late 50s. Others may have done some musicals in the past, but they're not seen as musical performers by the general public. Michelle Pfeiffer comes to mind. She was great in "Grease 2" (something of a hidden gem in its own right), but she's much more famous for playing Cat Woman. While we're talking hidden movie gems and Pfeiffer, see her in the recent film "French Exit". She is magnifique! Similarly, Dame Judi Dench, the queen of period drama, played Sally Bowles in the Original London Cast of "Cabaret" in 1967.
In the mid-1980s, I went to see a sweet revival of the 1930s musical "Me and My Girl" in London. The star of that show was the marvellous song and dance man Robert Lindsay. His singing, tap-dancing cockney sidekick? An up-and-coming actress you might be familiar with today: the ubiquitous (and equally-marvellous) Emma Thompson. Her performance is preserved on the London Cast recording of that show, along with Mr. Lindsay, Frank Thornton (Captain Peacock of "Are You Being Served" fame), and the musical whirlwind that is Susannah Fellows. Ms. Fellows was the original "Evita" Alternate (performing two shows a week in the title role) in the West End when Elaine Paige was making a name for herself the rest of the week.
In this series of posts, we'll try to surprise you by showcasing some of the wonderful singers you never knew could sing.