Megan Hilty has made a name for herself on Broadway, playing Glinda the Good Witch in “Wicked” and Doralee Rhodes in “9 to 5: The Musical” to great acclaim. But, for couch potatoes who have yet to discover the heady pleasures of live singing and the legitimate stage, she’s more known as Ivy Lynn, Katharine McPhee’s fiercest competitor on “Smash.”
The recent release of her debut album, “It Happens All The Time,” is a dream come true for the 32-year-old musical-theater luminary, who describes the recording as “a breakup album, because people fall in and out of love all the time.”
The album’s midtempo tunes showcase not just Hilty’s enviable vocal range, but also the sparkling beauty of her pop tones. She maneuvers her way around the Ne-Yo-Carrie Underwood composition, “Walk Away,” as efficiently as she scales the delicate notes of complex show tunes like, say, “Defying Gravity” or “For Good.”
Her pop trills are even more thrilling in the carrier single, “No Cure,” delivered with crowd-drawing gusto. Her covers of Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter” and Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up” will also draw music lovers with their hum-worthy melodies and middle-of-the-road appeal.
Two tunes stand above the rest: The singer-actress’ cover of Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars’ “Safe and Sound” gives the cautionary theme song of “The Hunger Games” a more reassuring tone.
On the other hand, Hilty’s rendition of Don Henley’s “The Heart of the Matter” recalls the soothing earnestness of Beverly Craven’s “Promise Me.”
As she sings about a failed romance, she resigns herself to a life without her loved one: “I’ve been trapped to get down to the heart of the matter/ My will gets weak, and my thoughts seem to scatter/ But, it’s about forgiveness/ Even if you don’t love me anymore.”