Posted on March 4, 2019 at 2:12 am

What do you do when a last-minute schedule change means your featured guest star suddenly cancels her appearance? If you’re me, you take to Twitter, ask your followers who they would be most excited to see, and end up with three stupendous stars on the rise who bring so much joy and warmth to the stage that it felt like Valentine’s Day came three days early.

The ebullient Bonnie Milligan, fresh from her starring role in last summer’s Go-Go’s extravaganza Head Over Heels, gave us miles of sassiness and her glorious belt, and then transformed (with the help of our mirror ball, naturally) to fulfill her dream of singing a Doris Day song.

Ana Villafañe, whose starring turn in On Your Feet somehow managed to convey the essence of Gloria Estefan better than the actual Gloria Estefan, did a sizzling “Cassandra” and a heartbreaking “Letting You Go” before reaching back to her Miami roots and torching the room with a bravura “Si Nos Dejan,” brilliantly fulfilling my own dream to have someone sing ranchera music at the residency.

And for total last-minute craziness, Natalie Weiss stepped in on twenty-four hours’ notice to unleash her unbelievable voice on the song I wrote for her album seven years ago, and, just for kicks, a daredevil version of “Someone To Fall Back On.”

Finally, all three of these monstrously talented women teamed up for a full-on disco diva trio wail on “Invisible.”

So now I know, the next time someone bails out on me at the last minute, I don’t have to panic. There’s enough amazing talent in this town that I can pull an incredible show together with one tweet. (And a fantastic band, of course!) Long live the Last Minute Divas!

(And Lillias is definitely showing up on March 11! We promise!)

Hope from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
Shiksa Goddess from The Last Five Years (2002)
BONNIE: Mr. Hopalong Heartbreak from Urban Cowboy (2003)
BONNIE: What It Means To Be A Friend from 13 (2008)
BONNIE: It’s Magic (music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sammy Cahn; 1947)
ANA: Cassandra from The Connector (2016)
ANA: Letting You Go from Songs of Jason Robert Brown (2003)
ANA: Si Nos Dejan (words and music by José Alfredo Jimenéz; ca. 1950s)
NATALIE: Someone To Fall Back On from Wearing Someone Else’s Clothes (2005)
NATALIE: There With You from Natalie Weiss (2010)
GIRL TRIO: Invisible from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
Melinda from How We React and How We Recover (2018) All Things In Time from How We React and How We Recover (2018)

JRB: piano, vocals
Bonnie Milligan: vocals
Natalie Weiss: vocals
Ana Villafañe: vocals

Gary Sieger: guitar
Todd Reynolds: violin
Randy Landau: bass
Jamie Eblen: drums

Credits:

Photos by Erika Kapin