A magical Roz White returns to DC to sing at Songbyrd

After two years on tour with 'The Tina Turner Musical,' the gifted singer-actress was welcomed home in a one-night-only concert.

More than 200 people packed into Songbyrd, DC’s best live-music venue, to welcome back Roz White to her hometown. It was a one-night affair at the invitation of long-time friend and producer Eric Richardson, who flew the singer in to headline a Jackie Mars’ Mars Arts DC Arts concert.

“Why is it always hot when I sing in DC?” she asked. Backed by “The Band,” she soon raised the room temp even further to smoldering.

Roz White. Photo coutesy of Washington Performing Arts.

It’s been a minute since this gifted singer-actress followed her bliss and went off on the national tour of The Tina Turner Musical, which she has brilliantly anchored for two years playing Tina’s mother. The tour is winding down, and we will get to see a lot more of her come fall. But many of us couldn’t wait to feel the love.

Whatever she does, the artist does with distinction, and everyone knows she will not be pinned down by genre or style. Wednesday night, she gave us a little New Orleans sound, some Gladys Knight, sent out Latin kisses with “In a Sentimental Mood” blues, and got audience participation in “Go Overboard.” Naughty or nice, all was Magical Roz.

There’s a new maturity there and access to chocolatey low notes as when she dug-so-deep in her heartfelt “Willow Weep for Me.”

You know when you see Roz in anything on stage, whether her solo singing career or music-theater work around town, be it Studio, Mosaic, Metro Stage, or wherever, you are going to get emotional authenticity. Roz is the real deal and an artist who always comes through.

There were plenty of local artists in the room to pay tribute to her — singers like Ronette Rollins, Victoria Purcel Coan, and Robert E. Person, and producers like Jenny Bilfield of WPAS, who produced this program, Serge Seiden and Reginald Douglas from Mosaic Theater, Carolyn Griffin of Metro Stage, and Preacher-Teacher-Event Host-and Recording Artist Dr. Jerome Allen Bell.

Nothing brings our community together better than music, and no music can break open our hearts more than the generous sound and soul of Miss Roz White.

Roz White performed May 8, 2024, presented by Washington Performing Arts as part of the Mars Arts D.C. Concert Series at Songbyrd Music House, 540 Penn Street NE, Washington, DC.

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Susan Galbraith
Playwright, librettist, songwriter, director, theater reviewer, and actress Susan Galbraith has worked in London, Singapore, New York, Minneapolis, Prague, and Boston before settling in DC. Her resume includes working with international directors including Peter Brooks, Miřenka Čechová, and Peter Sellars; choreographer Takao Tomono; and rock-and-roll superstar Prince. After moving to Washington, she helped found Alliance for New Music-Theatre and in the past decade led the development of original works across the spectrum of music-theater including musicals and opera. For over a decade, she was also pleased to support the greater Washington theater community as a happy member of the reviewing team of DC Theater Scene under Lorraine Treanor. She holds a BA from Tufts University, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and two graduate degrees, including a Fulbright fellowship. She now lives in Kalorama with three cats, a happy Samoyed, and a most understanding partner. You can read more of her theater writing here.


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