Skylight Music Theatre brings Leslie Fitzwater to the stage for her final rendition as the iconic Edith Piaf in Edith Piaf Onstage January 25 - February 10in the Cabot Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center (158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee WI).
Fitzwater embodies Piaf in this captivating evening of song and story that includes some of Piaf's most well-known songs such as "Hymn to Love", "Milord" and "La Vie En Rose". Piaf's stormy life was paralleled only by her iconic music. Overcoming an impoverished childhood and successfully fighting a murder charge that threatened to end her budding career, she rose to be the highest paid female performer in the world.
Both Fitzwater and the show have a long history at Skylight. Leslie first created a Piaf revue for Bastille Days in 1987. The following year, in 1988, the first Skylight version of Edith Piaf Onstage, which now incorporated biographical storytelling about Piaf, saw it's World Premiere. A success with audiences from the start, the show was performed again in 1989 , revived for Skylight's Studio Theatre in 2006 and had an encore run later that same season. Now, after cancelling last year's show due to Fitzwater's health, Skylight is thrilled to bring back this storied favorite, one last time, in an expanded version for the Cabot Theatre stage. The new version includes four additional songs , an added scene and a 4-piece orchestra of piano, accordion, bass and percussion.
The music is especially important to this production. Piaf was very particular about the songs she sang, insisting that they fit her, that she had an emotional connection to each song. She would often work with composers to shape the song to her liking. Likewise, Music Director, Paula Foley Tillen, transcribed the new orchestrations from original recordings of Piaf to ensure that the richness of the music translated perfectly to the Cabot Stage and that the orchestra, with Tillen on piano, could accurately capture the authentic sound of Edith Piaf's storied performances.
"We couldn't be more pleased to bring Leslie back to Skylight's stage for her final performance in this role and share the timeless music of Edith Piaf. I think Milwaukee audiences will be surprised at how much of the music they recognize from this truly iconic singer whose classic songs like "La Vie en Rose" and "Non, je ne regrette rien" have been ingrained in popular culture for so long, " says Bill Theisen, Skylight's Artistic Director.