Again, when Jewel stepped up to sing this, she was a complete unknown. I'd never heard of her when watching, and neither had pretty much anyone in that audience at Lincoln Center. This was aired in 1995. Her first single, "Who Will Save Your Soul" was even released until the following year.
Everyone was there in that New York City audience, no doubt, to see Roger Daltrey, Jackson Browne, Nathan Lane, Joel Grey, Natalie Cole, Phoebe Snow, Dr. John, Ronnie Spector, Debra Winger, David Sanborn on saxophone, guitarist Ry Cooder, whoever, take your choice. Any of them, all of them. Not some 21-year-old girl with one name they'd never heard of from Alaska.
And so, she stopped up to the microphone. My recollection is that the abbreviated script eliminated a lot of early material, including Uncle Henry and the farmhands, in part probably to withhold the entrance of the three Big Stars who would have to play them. And in part to move things along. There was some dialogue with Lucie Arnaz as Aunti Em, but that was it. Very little introduction, the audience had all barely settled in their seats, and then here was this young girl no one knew.
No one was there to see her. They did want to hear The Song, of course, but they mainly wanted to hear and see the others. Who they knew, and loved. And then this young, totally unknown girl began to sing. Threw herself into the character. And blew the audience away.
And they haven't released this production on DVD...