Megan Hilty: "Popular" at the Café Carlyle

On night two of her two-week not to be missed run, the Café Carlyle was packed with fans for Megan Hilty. Surveying the scene, Hilty spotted a girl front and center, and asked her what her favorite Broadway show was, hoping she would say Wicked. A debut for Hilty back in the day when she was an understudy, after the incomparable Kristin Chenowith left, Wicked launched Hilty, as it did Idina Menzel with whom she performed. Hilty went into her rendition of "Popular," a hit from the show. Then again, all sentimental about little girls --Hilty and her guitarist husband Brian Gallagher just had one, naming her Viola Philomena-- the chance to sing a song for a little girl was clearly irresistible.

Last year at the Carlyle, Hilty was pregnant. Her television series Smash had ended, and was the focus of her show. This year and much to her surprise, as she said, not only does the memory linger, but Smash has become a cult classic. In Smash, Megan Hilty as Ivy Lynn effortlessly looked the part of Marilyn Monroe. A bold curvaceous blond, eh, smashing in a skin-tight blue sequined sheath, with a confidence that suggests Lorelei without the fragility, Hilty sang the classic from Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend," in one of her two Carlyle encores. The other, "Count your Blessings" was for her daughter.

Hilty knows how to work this intimate room, singing duets with her husband ("It's Almost Like Being in Love/This Can't Be Love") and with the music director Matt Cusson on piano ("Let's Call the Whole Thing Off"), creating a mock rivalry. Ryan Hoagland on percussion and Dennis Keefe on bass completed the excellent band. As noted in the past, Megan Hilty epitomizes the idea: it's true what they say about blonds and fun.

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.