Broadway newcomer Alexandra Silber (Master Class) will take fans on a musical celebration of all things bookish in her new 54 Below show Ex Libris: A Trip to the Library. The self-confessed bookworm draws from some of her favorite prose and celebrates the many forms of the written word during her "book-stravaganza" on April 3. Before she takes the stage, Silber spills about her shameless love of pop music and her obsession with Angela Lansbury.
What record/album was your favorite growing up?
Without a doubt Judy Collins' Wildflowers. It literally orchestrated my life. Completely by coincidence I ended up going to high school with her niece, and I melted when I got to thank her for her music at our graduation.
What concert most influenced you as a performer?
When I was little, I went to Interlochen Arts Camp, and they always had an amazing festival of performers each summer. I'll never forget how Rosemary Clooney just sat there and sang from her guts with epic class.
What is your go-to audition song?
"Will He Like Me?" from She Loves Me. Amalia Balash is my spirit animal.
What song are you most excited to perform in your show?
"Yakko's World" from The Animaniacs. Yeah...you heard me.
What musical theater track is the most played on your iPod?
"Run, Freedom, Run!" [from Urinetown]. Hands down eclipses all other musical theater tracks by a number in the 100s (and actually the only consistent one on my iPod...) It is perfect. "Literally? YES."
If you could invite any performer onstage for a duet at 54 Below, who would it be?
It is no secret to anyone who knows, follows, or lives within a five block radius of me that Angela Lansbury is my idol. She is probably the only person on earth I would not be able to compose myself in front of if I met her in person. Her contribution to the entertainment industry inspires me every day, and I have loved her from the moment my dad brought home Til the Clouds Roll By and The Court Jester, to Bedknobs and Broomsticks, to a full-on obsession with Murder, She Wrote to ALL of her endemic, pivotal musical theater performances. I respect her. I aspire to be like her. I love her. No: I crazy love her. It would be Angela and I wouldn't sing because I would be beside myself. So SHE would sing "It's Today" and I would just gaze at her.
What musical theater performer from the past do you wish you could collaborate with?
Danny Kaye. Gordon MacRae. Bea Arthur.
What album was the soundtrack to your 20s?
40 Days by The Wailin' Jennys. (I have a closet Bluegrass person inside me.)
What’s your favorite love song?
I can't choose. Somewhere between "Dammi i colori... Recondita armonia" from Tosca, "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You," and "One Hand One Heart."
What song makes you feel sexy?
Adele's "Someone Like You." Magic stuff.
What is your favorite workout track?
I have a playlist on my iPod created for workouts called "Pop music you should be ashamed of but are not," and THAT is all I am going to say about that.
What's the best hidden gem on your iPod?
The great Zoë Keating.
Favorite break-up song?
"So What" by P!nk. Hits. The. Spot. Believe you me. Plus "Jolene" and of course, "Send in the Clowns." Sigh...
What song most makes you smile?
Have you ever heard "Boum" sung by Charles Trenet? It is a charming French song from 1938 with irreverent lyrics about falling in love in the springtime and features a lot of onomatopoeic animal sounds. It's a hoot. Also, Gogol Bordello's "Start Wearing Purple" and "Jump in the Line" by Harry Belafonte.
Check out Alexandra Silber's Ex Libris: A Trip to the Library at 54 Below on April 3, and hear her sing "What's the Use of Wonderin'" from Carousel below.