A Belle rings in offstage career moves 
March 10, 2002

The Orange County Register

Susan Egan, the Seal Beach native who rocketed to fame (and a Tony nomination) as Belle in the Broadway debut of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," is releasing an album of music she has performed throughout her career, but never recorded.

"Susan Egan ... So Far," available Friday, will feature songs from her major Broadway appearances ("Cabaret," "State Fair," "Beauty and the Beast" and other shows), her touring musicals ("Bye, Bye Birdie") and some of her more notable regional productions ("Hello Again," "Putting It Together," "South Pacific"). An eclectic collection of American musical theater's brightest talents is represented, as well as a few out-of-left-field selections: Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Abba, Michael John LaChiusa, Stephen Sondheim. Egan's CD will also include the debut recording of Alan Menken and Tim Rice's ballad from "Beauty and the Beast, "A Change in Me." Produced by John Yap for JAY Records, "Susan Egan ... So Far" features the National Symphony Orchestra. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.

I'll be curious to give this one a spin. I've seen Egan perform many times, in musicals and in concert, and I'm wondering whether her obvious stage charms will translate to the recording studio. Many Broadway stars have quirky personas and singular talents that simply have to be seen live to be appreciated. Madeleine Kahn, Elaine Stritch and Ethel Merman come to mind.

Egan's gifts, on the other hand, are well-balanced. I've watched her cabaret show, and her singing voice stands on its own, with sufficient charisma, beauty and technical merits to shine through on a CD.

Now in her 30s, Egan is trying to develop a multifaceted career and break out of the ingenue rut. In the past couple of years she has pursued roles calculated to shatter her Belle jar. She played a drug-addled Sally Bowles in Sam Mendes' dark-hearted revival of "Cabaret" at New York's Studio 54, and she seduced both F. Murray Abraham and Betty Buckley (there's a feat!) in Pierre Marivaux's naughty 18th-century comedy "The Triumph of Love."

On TV, Egan can be seen as nasty Mary Campbell in WB's "Nikki." She has also appeared in "Party of Five," "The Drew Carey Show," "Almost Perfect" and "All My Children." Watch for her in this week's episode of "NYPD Blue," airing Tuesday. Egan is also following a time-honored route for those who want to give their professional persona an edge: independent films. She stars in "Man of the Century," "The Disappearing Girl Trick" and the upcoming "Extreme Close Up."