There were little kids at Carter Barron last night. Lots and lots of little kids. They scurried about the aisles during the intermission, chasing around and wreaking havoc. And they squealed when the lights went up for the star of the show, their peer and heroine, singer Andrea McArdle. Weeeeeeeee!!!!!!
Actually, McArdle is hardly a kid anymore. At 17, with Broadway and London productions of "Annie," commercials and television appearances behind her, she is a mature performer -- a fact attested to by her concert.
She has a voice that is at once engaging and provocative in the most innocent of ways. She sings with a feeling and innate sense of timing that are often beyond the reach of performers twice (or even three times) her age. Added to this is a range and delivery that are elastic enough to encompass everything from Kenny Rogers to the Beatles and Judy Garland. She is one of the few singers to bring off "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" with anything approaching the inspired naivete of the original.
There were a few moments -- an occasional awkward pose and an extra "you know" inserted in her onstage remarks -- when Andrea McArdle revealed her teen-ageness. But her singing -- well, everyone seemed to love it -- kids and parents alike.