Singer and actor Linda Eder was without power at her upper New York farm after Hurricane Sandy rolled through.
“Yeah, fortunately we didn’t have any damage,” Eder says. “A few of my huge trees fell down, but we’re OK.”
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is bringing the female lead of the Broadway musical “Jekyll & Hyde” to the Music Center at Strathmore at 8 p.m. Nov. 8.
Eder will perform her “Songbirds” collection, which includes songs by various music icons, such as Judy Garland.
“I heard her and watched her in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ when I was 8 years old and I remember that moment when she sang ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ it just changed something in me,” Eder says. “I realized I wanted to sing like that.
“‘Songbirds’ if full of songs from iconic singers. Every year, I have my staples that I like to sing and I keep those in the show, but I like to put a certain percentage of new material into it every year. So for this year, for ‘Songbirds,’ I chose songs from iconic female singers like Patsy Kline and Lita Ford and Barbara Streisand.”
Born in Arizona, Eder is quick to point out she’s not really into the pomp of the Broadway stage.
“I’m a bit unusual, I know that I am, in terms of the theater lifestyle and being focused on your career,” Eder says. “It’s what I’ve been doing since I was in high school, and that was a long time ago. But I was never really 100 percent into it. I’m a farmer, a rancher, at heart. I have a little horse farm in upper New York. I just do chores, fix fences and ride my tractor.
“It’s a completely different image than what the audience would expect. My stage outfit is my work clothes. When I go back home, I literally put on work clothes. I’m very much a farmer a heart.”
Eder’s sole turn on Broadway was nonetheless a memorable performance. As Lucy in “Jekyll” she played a prostitute with whom the engaged Dr. Jekyll falls in love. She won a Theater World Award for best Broadway debut, however some critics were outraged she wasn’t at least nominated for a Tony Award.
It’s all the same for Eder. She says when her son was born, she knew the time was right to be with him, not on the Broadway stage.
“I waited until I was older to have a child,” Eder says. “And when my son was born, I thought he was going to be my only child, which he was. So I decided it was best for me to be with him and I left ‘Jekyll.’”
Eder, who says her favorite musical of all time has to be “Les Miserables,” enjoys not having to spend so much time doing musicals, where she says she only got one day off a week and it was always a constant strain on her voice.
“That’s the reason I enjoy doing this show,” Eder says. “I get to control the tempo, I don’t have to worry about other things on stage, it’s just me.”
Eder says she enjoys being able to connect with the audience, almost like going through an emotional roller coaster — in a good way.
“Music is all about emotion. There were shows I’ve done over the years where fans would tell me, ‘Oh, that’s the best show we ever saw you do’ and that’s because I connected emotionally with them,” Eder says. “My goal is to always take an emotional ride and to make people laugh. There are times in the show where people are laughing and then there are times that are very heart-wrenching and they sort of stop.”