Close to the end of Act 1 in Jason Robert Brown's musical / song cycle / theatrical event Songs For A New World, the perfomer portraying Woman 2 bestows audiences with "Stars and the Moon."
The song tells the story of a woman dreaming of a life filled with stars and Hollywood glamour and the loves that she encountered along her life's journey.
"Stars and the Moon" has been a staple in concerts and cabarets by some of musical theatre's best and beloved. We read how there's a New Moon on July 20th so what better day for an Ultimate YouTube Ranking of our top 10 favorite covers of this Jason Robert Brown gem.
10. Laura Michelle Kelly
Laura has such a dreamy voice! Her interpretation is as if we're in on a conversation with one of her dearest friends. She has an incredible old school classic quality to her soprano voice which fits this song beautifully. Case in point: 2:32 - 2:58. So fantastic.
9. Hannah Whitney
This NYU Grad appeared last year in Grace McLean's musical In The Green at LCT. Hannah's cover of this "Stars and the Moon" is one of the highest viewed YouTube covers of the song and we can see why! There is such delicate simplicity to her delivery. We also love the folk-infused tone of her voice. The acting beats in the last few lines!!
8. Lauren Kennedy
A fantastic Jason Robert Brown song interpreter, Lauren was the original Cathy Hiatt in The Last Five Years's original Chicago run prior to New York opposite Norbert Leo Butz. Here she sings a hopeful version of this Songs For A New World tune. Her incredible belt brings such a brightness to the performance. We love her lyric interpretation at 3:45. She's serving you Reese Witherspoon and/or Meg Ryan.
7. Maddy Trumble
This Disney on Broadway vet of Mary Poppins and Newsies sounds divine on this cover. We absolutely love her voice! This is such a thoughtful performance with gorgeous vocals. She's a wonderful storyteller. We especially loved how varied each memory was, especially 1:30 - 2:21. Also, 2:48 - 3:24 is where Maddy's fabulous belt really comes through - so fantastic.
6. Betty Buckley
Yes uptempo version, Betty! We love the groove of this version. What a thrill to hear Betty sing this Jason Robert Brown story with such fabulous Broadway bravado. Listen to 0:51 - 1:05. The whole song has such a fantastic energy and we love the arrangement. 2:45 to the end is so amazing because it's such an original lyric interpretation. So casual and so honest. Brava to you Betty!
5. Donna Murphy
Give us Donna Murphy singing a storytelling type song any day of the week! What a treat to hear her sing this song on which she sounds incredible. Her lyric at 2:11 - 2:40 is exhilirating and thrilling. How she approached each of these loves in the song are so diverse. The last lyric, her whole persona changed. Acting. Acting. Acting. It's so smart. We're constantly in awe of Donna.
4. Betsy Wolfe
Betsy singing Jason Robert Brown is always a match made in heaven. She interprets his lyrics so beautifully with such quick wit. Added bonus of this performance is that JRB himself is singing the lyrics what the character's beau is promising her. Brings a whole other level to the tune! We also love the bonus alternate notes like at 1:42. There's also this gorgeous country music sounding moment at 3:12 that we replayed three times.
3. Sutton Foster
Hearing one of Broadway's superstars sing this song is so wonderful, it's like watching a mini musical in itself. Sutton's acting choices, her reactions, her lyric interpretations - completely different than the other performances in her own unique way. Look at 2:00 in! All the way through to 2:29, Sutton exudes the exuberance and enthusiasm of her iconic Broadway roles. 3:31 - 3:38 is amazing.
2. Shoshana Bean
Shoshana wowed us at the recent New York City Center Encores! Off Center production of Songs For A New World singing this tune. She emanates such joy. Shoshana is another performer who can deliver a Jason Robert Brown song with her own unique flair. We love the soulfulness in her voice and the way she so subtly infuses magical moments to the melody. 4:24 - 4:39 is awesome. We love her perspective of each of her loves throughout the song.
1. Audra McDonald
What a beautiful marriage of song and performer. Audra is luminous. We can so clearly picture the relationships she is singing about throughout the song. We also love her effortless delivery of the punchlines so to speak. How can you beat her outstanding mix on the moments in the melody. Audra's strength in 3:08 - 3:13! The final minute is an absolute masterclass. How we adore Audra!