Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson was given the Herculean task of interpreting Somewhere from West Side Story for Movies Rock!, a television special featuring fresh performances of some of the more well-loved songs from cinema. Prior to J-Hud’s version, the versions of Somewhere I’ve heard include Barbra’s version sung at the end of her 1994 concert tour, and the Natalie Wood version in the film.
I think you’ll find this version a significantly satisfactory version. Woods’ version was a poignant one, given that the just-shot Richard Beymer was dying in her arms; her version was a wistful soliloquy on star-crossed lovers doomed to a tragic end. Streisand reinvented the song to become a celebration of the diversity of man; the lyrics are sufficient to be open to interpretation both ways. I imagine Hudson’s take on Somewhere was closer to Streisand’s, and with her bombastic voice ripping into the song with gusto, there was no doubt she would pull Somewhere off with a spine-tingling, hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck-standing finale that merited a standing ovation from the live audience.
Watch the video and tell me what you think.