Better Together: Anna Fosselman, Ricky Rotandi, & Whitney MacManamy

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Better Together:
Anna Fosselman, Ricky Rotandi, Whitney MacManamy

The Duplex, NYC, March 3, 2018

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

(clockwise from upper left)
Anna Fosselman, Ricky Rotandi,
Whitney MacManamy

Strong separately, the trio of Anna Fosselman, Ricky Rotandi, and Whitney MacManamy together were certainly better, giving truth to the name of the show. In fact, it seemed that, any time Fosselman was included in a song, she brought an uncanny ability to harmonize with her co-stars. Both MacManamy and Rotandi had strong, individual voices that they displayed in their well-rehearsed choices.

MacManamy did well in “A Change in Me” from Beauty and the Beast (Alan Menken/Tim Rice) and “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman (Benj Pasek/Justin Paul), which she introduced as songs that represent very real changes in her life. The only real advice to give on a rather clean performance would be to box the emotion into rehearsals. Whether she felt something slipped or not, it seemed to everyone in the room (except for her) that she had killed it.

New to New York, Rotandi certainly gets a lot of credit for finding his way into performing at The Duplex so quickly. In honor of that he made another excellent choice in “Out There” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Menken/Stephen Schwartz). Feeling like he wants to be a part of this world (New York) from afar, he added a touch of sentimentality to lines like “All my life I wonder how it feels to pass a day/ Not above them, but part of them.” He’s got a decent range and an easy way of working through it.

This certainly won’t be the last time performing for any of these three. While each performed solo on a Disney song, including Fosselman’s “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana (Lin-Manuel Miranda), that was the extent of the Disney showcased in the evening. Trio performances of “You’re the Top” (Cole Porter from Anything Goes) and duets featuring Fosselman, such as “What Do I Need with Love” (Dick Scanlan/Jeanine Tesori from Thoroughly Modern Millie), filled the rest of their show.

Also of special mention, their Juilliard School pianist, Xu Cheng, who had a subtle impact on the show and a fluid hand.

Cheng will be performing at 8 pm on March 19 at Paul Hall at Juilliard.

Chris Struck

Chris Struck's debut novel, Kennig and Gold, is due to be officially published in June 2019. He's written reviews for Cabaret Scenes since August of 2017. For more information about the writer, see