Julie Budd Brings ’Showstoppers’ to Providence
"Julie Budd is the consummate performer. She belts with the unguarded force of a diva," wrote Stephen Holden in the New York Times about the vocal star with a career spanning some four decades.
Rhode Island audiences have an opportunity to enjoy Budd’s powerful voice on Saturday, October 13, 2012 when she brings "Showstoppers" to Providence’s Rhode Island College. The show will feature Budd pop standards and Broadway classics.
Budd took some time away from her busy touring schedule to chat with EDGE about her career and love of performing.
"It’s a little bit of everything," Budd said of the show.
Expect, though, to hear some Gershwin. Budd has been an ardent admirer of George and Ira Gershwin, the brothers who wrote some of the most timeless songs in the Great American Songbook.
"Here you have pieces which were written almost 100 years ago and they sound as contemporary in temperament and spirit of what they’re saying as if they were written yesterday," Budd said. "Their work is just beautiful."
Mini-Girl with the Maxi-Voice
Budd’s work has spanned from the stage to film and television. Budd was discovered while performing in the Catskills and later appeared on the "Merv Griffin Show" (where she was dubbed "Mini-Girl with the Maxi-Voice") and "The Tonight Show." She has also appeared on stage in musicals, including Neil Simon’s "They’re Playing Our Song" and the revue, "Catskills on Broadway."
In addition, she has made several albums. In 2005, she released "The New Classics," featuring pop standards including "A House is Not a Home," "Defying Gravity" and "Roses and Rainbows."
Over her career, Budd has appeared alongside such headliners as Frank Sinatra, Bill Cosby, Bob Hope, Carol Burnett, and Liberace.
Working with Sinatra was a pleasurable experience. "I didn’t know what to expect," she recalled. "I had heard nine million different things from nine million different people. I met a very delightful person who was very excited about working with me."
Budd also retains a lot of admiration for Burnett, who she calls "a very genuine, easy to be with person."
"She’s very unassuming," Budd said. "When I did (Burnett’s) television show, I realized throughout the week the range and the depth of her abilities. She was able to do so many things very, very well. I liked her very much as a person."
Budd has appeared at the most prestigious venues in the world, including New York City’s famed Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, the London Palladium, as well as on stage in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Lately, Budd has performed with symphony orchestras in Baltimore, Dallas, and Philadelphia, which she finds a great match for her singing style.
"It really complements what I do," Budd explained. "My show is a dramatic show. When you’re working with 65 musicians behind you, it lends itself to that kind of drama."
A kid in Vegas
Budd fondly remembers the beginning of her career when she had the chance to share a stage with famous entertainers.
"I used to play Vegas a lot when I was a kid, because Nevada didn’t have the stringent child labor laws other states did," Budd noted. "It was a great training ground for me because I got to work with a lot of these legendary performers. I was opening up for them. I was really learning what it was to perform."
Budd’s full-throttle style has led to comparisons to Barbra Striesand, which she doesn’t mind.
"I never took it as a negative connotation in terms of somebody not seeing me for me," Budd said, adding she is appreciative when people make the association to a performer who Budd believes is at the top of their profession.
Nor does she worry about getting negative reviews.
"You can’t write a show with a critic in mind," Budd said. "You have to write a show with your point of view in mind and you have to hope that when you go out there and go to work, that (audiences) get it."
Budd points out the gambles all entertainers make when they walk onto a stage in front of an audience.
"What we do is very risky," Budd noted. "Every time you go out there and do your work, you’re risking a part of who you are. You can only do the best that you can."
Budd appreciates all her success and the longevity of a career she feels blessed to enjoy: "There are so many people who are gifted out there and you wonder, ’Why am I so lucky to be the one who’s been chosen to have this career?’ I really feel that I am hugely lucky."
Tribeca will be Budd’s opening act. A portion of the proceeds from the performance will go to AIDS Project Rhode Island.
Temple Sinai Presents Julie Budd - "Showstoppers" at Roberts Hall at Rhode Island College, 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island. Saturday, October 13 at 8 pm.
Tickets are $42.00 per person. Roberts Hall Box Office - 401-456-8144 or www.ric.edu.
Watch these clips of Julie Budd over the years: