National Black Theatre Festival

Jay Handelman, August 6. 2015

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

I couldn’t have picked a better way to end the mid-point of the festival than with “An Evening with Vivian Reed.” I had seen her decades ago on Broadway in “Bubbling Brown Sugar” and remembered a dynamic young singing actress. She’s been working steadily ever since, but I hadn’t heard her in years. On stage in a hotel ballroom with a four-piece band behind her, she reveals a variety of styles, from funk to blues to playful or gritty. Her voice has only grown stronger and more emotional. She knows how to put her own style on her music, including a down and dirty version of “Come Rain or Come Shine” and a soul-wrenching rendition of “God Bless the Child.”