ight at her New York City loft, where Broadway performer Judy Kuhn often relaxes with family and friends, the singer tested a hearth-and-home kind of idea a couple of years ago: saluting one clan’s legendary, century-long impact in music.
“I did a couple of what you could call trial runs in my house,” said Kuhn, speaking by phone from her 3,000-square-foot space that allows plenty of room for such informal gatherings. “And I invited some friends over to listen.”
The four-time Tony Award nominee would love to see, oh, 300 to 400 friends drop in today as she performs at the latest installment of the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s Cabaret at The Commons. Her show, “Rodgers, Rodgers and Guettel,” takes its name and material from her 2015 album and highlights the work of Richard Rodgers, his daughter Mary Rodgers and his grandson Adam Guettel.
“It’s a wonderful tribute to this extraordinary DNA that seems to have been passed down through those three generations,” the 58-year-old Kuhn said, referring to the trio as the first family of American music. “It spans many different eras and styles.”
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Composer Richard Rodgers is among Broadway’s most celebrated creators. He worked alongside Oscar Hammerstein II on award-winning musicals ranging from “Oklahoma!” to “The Sound of Music.” Mary Rodgers is best known for her “Once Upon a Mattress,” while Adam Guettel is most recognized for “The Light in the Piazza.”
A pianist and cellist will help Kuhn bring the tunes to life. The four-time Tony Award nominee’s local concert probably will include all 14 cuts from the aforementioned disc plus a few more, she estimated. She premiered a slightly different version of the show two years ago in a performance at Lincoln Center’s cozy Appel Room.
She readily acknowledged, like other Broadway veterans, that the vocalist people will see in her cabaret concert clearly is different than the performer known for popular stage shows such as “Fun Home,” “Les Miserables,” “Chess” “She Loves Me” and “Rags,” among others.
Plus, this focused salute to the Rodgers’ family leaves no room for her previous signature songs, including the diversity-oriented pop tune “Colors of the Wind” Disney tune from the 1995 animated film “Pocahontas.”
But she did acknowledge that her set list will include Guettel’s “Migratory V,” a slow and quiet “hymn of understanding,” as the vocalist put it. It includes the lines: “But can we fly together?/A migratory V?/How wonderful if that’s what God could see.”
“That song definitely has a lot of resonance today, and the fact that we’re all in this together,” she said.
Beyond that, she ideally would prefer to keep specifics about her tunes under wraps. To speak too extensively about an act can ruin the audience surprise, she said.
Kevin Butler of Columbus, a longtime high school choral teacher and choral contest judge, frequently points high school and other young vocalists to Kuhn’s music and videos as a superb example of musical versatility. Butler has been a fan of her Broadway work for years.
“Her voice is just so crystal clear,” he said. “And when she does the Broadway belt, it’s never forced. And it’s a voice that’s great from top to bottom.”
The woman values family so much that her clan’s 1912 Steinway baby grand sits in her home next to the piano bench that her grandfather handcrafted. And Kuhn loves the familial aspect of her Rodgers’ concert — and the fact that the three are additionally linked by how they influenced each other.
“Mary Rodgers’ music is probably the least known (in this show),” Kuhn said, adding that many know Guettel’s music from “A Light in the Piazza.”
“So, I love to introduce people to her,” she added.
Kuhn mentioned that the show has been a success at a variety of venues partly “because the material is so rich.” And many music critics probably would agree that that makes a nice match for a voice they have described as much the same.
What: The Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s Cabaret at The Commons series with Broadway and four-time Tony Award nominee Judy Kuhn.
When: 7:30 p.m. today.
Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St., downtown Columbus.
Food and drinks: Available at the show, including hors d’oeuvres.
Tickets: $20, $35 and $55.
Information and ordering: 812-376-2638 or thecip.org.