Sarah Ambrose: The Story Goes On

Sarah Ambrose

The Story Goes On

Arizona Broadway Theatre Encore Room, Phoenix, AZ, November 19, 2019

Reviewed by Lynn Timmons Edwards for Cabaret Scenes

Sarah Ambrose

It is not often one has the privilege of reviewing a cabaret virgin. Sarah Ambrose is a 25-year-old dynamo on her way to New York with her newly earned Equity card in hand. To raise funds for the life-changing move, she produced her first cabaret show with pianist Tristin Peterson-Steinart and four talented guest artists—Nicholas Hambruch, Michael Schauble, Elyssa Blonder, and Katie Brink.

Ambrose appears to have the tools to make it in New York. She is a triple threat; she is currently the dance captain for The Sound of Music at Phoenix Theatre and is an alumna of both the Princess and Aida cruise lines.  Although she is off to New York, Phoenix Theatre already has her under contract in for a leading role in Something’s Rotten in 2020. 

For The Story Goes On she chose 21 songs, several of them in medleys, to showcase her immense vocal power and subtle acting ability. Many of the songs are similar in character and vocal range, coming from the contemporary shows The Last Five Years, Big Fish, Waitress, Frozen, Edges, Little Women, Freaky Friday and Bonnie and Clyde. Of those, “I Can Do Better Than That” (Last Five Years) and her 11th-hour number, “She Used to Be Mine” (Waitress) were perfect in every way. She also delivered each lyric like a Broadway pro in her  medley of “Everybody Loves Louie” and “Moving On” from Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George. She is destined to play Dot/Marie someday. Nicholas Hambruch gave her a physically and vocally believable George to fill out the scene.

She kept her patter to a minimum, but her finest moment came as she shared her post-cruise life audition early this summer for the national touring company of Frozen. After 10 rounds of auditioning she did not book the show. The experience broke her young heart, but she realized “everything happens for a reason.” Then she sang part of “Dangerous to Dream” in audition mode before grabbing the mic and making “Let It Go” her own personal declaration. It was in that moment that the show became a personal journal rather than a concert of her best material.

She paid homage to bygone Broadway including her opening “Everybody Says Don’t” and later “Anyone Can Whistle” and “With So Little to Be Sure Of” from Sondheim’s little performed Anyone Can Whistle.  She also delivered a very tender and poignant “Meadowlark.” As her story continues to “go on,” Ambrose need not rely only on the big belt. which can become strident at times. She will have time and experience to choose songs that are personal to her life outside of their original context. She will find more calm and quiet moments to bring the audience to her; she will vary her keys and vocal style and fine tune her already deep repertoire of songs. A star continues to be born.

Ambrose exudes energy and beauty, and sparkles with authentic emotion. She was genuinely thrilled to have such a large and appreciative audience. She gushed over, hugged and thanked the audience, Tristin, and her guest singers more than once. All her fellow singers held their own and Peterson-Steinart provided superb accompaniment throughout the show.

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Lynn Timmons Edwards

Lynn writes and performs themed cabaret shows based on the songs of the Great American Songbook throughout Arizona. She has had three short plays produced in the Theatre Artists Studio Festival of Summer Shorts and is working on a full length play, "Fairy," based on the life of Mary Russell Ferrell Colton, a founder of the Museum of Northern Arizona. In addition to writing and singing, Lynn plays bridge and tennis and enjoys traveling with her husband and artistic companion, Bob. Born in Ohio, Lynn is a graduate of Denison University (BA), Arizona State University (MPA) and has lived in Arizona since 1977.