Versions, Vol. 4: “Freedom” by Kerrigan-Lowdermilk

For the next couple of installments of Versions, I’m hitting you guys with a Kerrigan-Lowdermilk two-fer!  First up is a song that I (gasp!) didn’t actually like until much later.  In the early developmental stages of The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown, the show in which the song is featured, “Freedom” had already seen many different iterations and with many different performers at its helm.  The song itself is about two best friends embarking on one last road trip before their biggest adventure yet: college.  With this in mind, “Freedom” called for two such girls: one as shy and sweet as protagonist Sam and the other as outgoing and free-spirited as her best friend Kelly.

Watch this video on YouTube.

I remember back in those early days happening upon this performance of this song with Helene Yorke (now in Bullets on Broadway) and Phoebe Strole (now in Glee, alongside former Spring Awakening co-star Lea Michele) at the Laurie Beechman theater.  Looking back, I’m not sure what specifically turned me off from the song, as both performers sing wonderfully here (especially Yorke, whose “that’s freedom” line lands on the prettiest little vibrato).  Looking at it now, I suppose it seemed pretty raw, despite the song staying mostly intact years after this video was filmed – but other than that, I can’t see anything else wrong with this version.  I don’t know.  Who knows, really, what Past Jess was thinking? *insert non-committal shrug here*

Watch this video on YouTube.

Now, THIS video.  This video was really the one that made me fall in love with this song.  If I wasn’t sure why it took so long upon viewing the previous video, I certainly can tell you now as I watch this one.  It mostly has to do with the exuberant performance by Melissa Benoist, who plays Kelly here, reviving the role she originated in the Goodspeed Musicals mounting of Samantha Brown back in 2011).  Listening to her, it just feels like they’re two young girls out on the road and really basking in the freedom that they’re singing about – not to mention the beautiful arrangement, which really helps drive (see what I did there?) bring Sam’s emotional arc home by the song’s end.

Which is your favorite?

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