September 30, 1996 12:00 PM

Bernadette Peters

Veteran Broadway star Peters seems, in some respects, the female equivalent of Mandy Patinkin (who joined forces with her for a few duets on an album some years ago and with whom she starred, to great effect, in Sunday in the Park with George). Neither performer can be accused of understatement in their vocal presentations. Would that as much effort went into Peters’s diction, which is sometimes mushy, or her often clumsy phrasing. The overriding impression given by this CD, a collection of blues, pop, rock and theater songs, is of a rather unformed, mannerism-laden performer trying to find her voice. “I Make Him Feel Good,” while attempting to be hot and funky, succeeds only in being arch and annoying. “Running on Faith,” which starts beautifully, becomes an overproduced, overamplified mess. Where Peters shines is in a simple, direct and haunting take (accompanied by a single guitar) of “What’s the Use of Wond’rin?” from Carousel. Let’s have more such songs from Peters. (Angel)

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