Tonya Pinkins took my breath away on Monday, August 27, 2012 when I attended her concert at 54 Below in NYC where she performed excerpts and songs from "Hurricane Ethel," a hopeful new show about the life and music of Ethel Waters, written by Dennis Courtney with Tonya Pinkins.
I felt the true depths of Tonya's skills were displayed on that stage at 54 Below, both in acting and singing. Tonya embodied Ethel Waters and brought this iconic woman back to life! With such hits as "Harlem on My Mind"/"Ole Man Harlem," "Heatwave," "I Got Rhythm," "Suppertime," "Stormy Weather," "Come Up and See Me Some Time," "Shake That Thing," "Lil Black Boy," "Moonglow," "Honey In the Honeycomb" and "This Joint Is Jumping," many of the songs made famous by Ethel Waters as well as some of the major achievements Ethel gained during her life and career were covered. Ethel was a real pioneer in many aspects of her life.
Tonya has a vocal range most singers can only dream about! While she triumphed throughout the whole show, my favorite numbers were "I Got Rhythm," "Suppertime," "Stormy Weather," "Shake That Thing," and "This Joint Is Jumping."
"I Got Rhythm" is one of my favorite songs of all time, so it was just a joy to hear Tonya sing it. On "Suppertime" and "Stormy Weather," Tonya hit all the right notes, but it was "Shake That Thing" and "This Joint Is Jumping," where Tonya definitely enticed the audience into interacting with her.
Tonya's concert was full of life. There were so many moments I was in awe of her. I feel so lucky to have been in attendance!