When commitment plays key role, audiences notice

When commitment plays key role, audiences notice

By Kevin Nance

Staff Writer

Amid an otherwise so-so theater production of this musical adaptation of Dickens, Rebecca Holden, who you might remember from her appearances on several TV series from the 1980s, delivers the most supercharged rendition of As Long as He Needs Me imaginable.


Seemingly out of nowhere, she steps onstage and turns Nancy’s declaration of helpless love for the brutish Bill Sikes into a masterpiece with something like the emotional reach of Callas’ recordings of the arias of Mimi and Tosca.

Talk about pathos. In this era of heightened awareness of the phenomenon of women who can’t bring themselves to part from their male batterers, we might be tempted to think of this character’s dilemma as pathological rather than heroic.But as Holden sings, turning herself inside out, judging Nancy is the last thing on our minds. She is not helpless. She is determined and tragic, and the air in the theater seems to pulsate with the force of her passion.

At the end of the song, I turned to my friend, who whispered: “I’m stunned.”


Commitment. It’s the great stepping up to the dramatic plate, the full-bodied swing at texts and music, that allows amazing things to happen on the stage. It comes out of confidence and preparation, but also out of what can only be called courage, the steely fortitude that makes possible the actor’s public swan-dive into the pool of his own deepest feelings.

When it happens, and you’re lucky enough to be there, you’ll know. The hairs on the back of your neck will tell you.

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Rebecca Holden (8)




Rebecca Holden (9)