It's been two-plus years since Alice Ripley electrified Broadway with her staggeringly brilliant and brave performance as a mother suffering from bipolar disorder in the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal. Clearly, the show and playing that character have been hard to shake. At an A-Sides session in a Music Therapy Institute practice studio (within the Music Conservatory of Westchester) late last month, the stage star, who originated the role that earned her the 2009 Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical, discussed the groundbreaking show and performed a track from its soundtrack -- one she actually didn't sing in the show. "I like to switch it up," she said off camera.
Clearly, Ripley has switched things up her entire career. In addition to performing on Broadway (her credits also include Les Miserables and The Rocky Horror Show), the singer/songwriter has channeled her inner rock star with the band she fronts -- Ripley. She and the band have released several albums since 2001, including Daily Practice, which featured her covering everyone from U2 to Carole King. Yesterday, Ripley did something different, releasing a song and music video for "Beautiful Eyes" on iTunes and all across the Interwebs. The song may or may not be featured on a future album. In any event, I'm boring -- she's not. Watch both powerhouse songs below:
"I've Been" - Next to Normal Cover
About A-Sides with Jon Chattman
Jon Chattman's music series features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing.