It’s Anna Kendrick’s 28th birthday today and to celebrate we rounded up proof that her voice is the real deal, lest there be any skeptics left after Pitch Perfect. Anna Kendrick landed on the Hollywood scene with her starring role in Pitch Perfect, and she had everyone enraptured by her gorgeous, effortless performance of “Cups.” Plus, she’s modest, awkward, relatable, sarcastic, and a modern master of Twitter. I love her so much that I just need the world to KNOW that her voice is the real deal. In a world where any actor with a pulse can just waltz into a musical film and do a passable job at singing (Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia, Amanda Seyfried in Mamma Mia, Amanda Seyfried in Les Misérables… guys, maybe we should stop casting Amanda Seyfried in musicals?), Anna Kendrick is legit. But don’t take it from me, check out all the cold, hard evidence that she has musical training and an amazing voice.
1. She was nominated for a Tony Award when she was twelve.
What were you doing when you were twelve? Probably making friendship bracelets and shopping at Claire’s. Anna Kendrick was busy acting in a 1998 Broadway production of the Cole Porter musical High Society as Dinah Lord, a role for which we was nominated for a Tony award and won a Theater World award. That’s right, she was a talented kid on Broadway before the hoards of Billy Elliots and Matildas invaded. The cast recording is pretty obscure, but it’s on Amazon if you want to see if you can recognize her (hint: she’s in the songs “Throwing a Ball Tonight,” “Little One,” and “I Love Paris”). There are no videos of the performance, but you can watch her in the My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies special from around the same year. Wearing a pink party dress, she leads the strippers of Cabaret in a funny rendition of a similar oldie, “Life Upon the Wicked Stage.” Boy, does she have spunk.
2. She was in the underwatched, pre-High School Musical performing arts movie Camp.
Okay, so this movie is pretty overly dramatic even for a movie about kids at a competitive theater camp, but the highlight was surely watching Anna Kendrick poison her bully on performance day so that she could go on for her, hence the vomiting at the beginning of this song. So much bitchiness for one so young. But her performance of “Ladies Who Lunch” from Company is worth it. Never mess with Anna Kendrick, folks.
3. She can perform “Cups” live.
We all know that she sounded amazing in Pitch Perfect, but did you know that she actually taught herself how to perform “Cups” just for fun before getting cast in the movie? In an appearance on David Letterman, she spills that it was her secret talent, and when the gang behind Pitch Perfect found out, they wrote it into the movie for her. When David Letterman surprises her by asking her to perform it live, she does it like a boss. No mistakes.
4. She sang “For Good” with Kristin Chenoweth.
Anna Kendrick duetted with Tony-Award winner and Broadway goddess Kristin Chenoweth on “For Good” from Wicked for Trevor Live. May I just point out that the person who usually sings this with Kristin Chenoweth is Idina Menzel, other Broadway goddess? Jeez, no pressure. She was probably nervous as hell, as we can see at the end when she says “I can’t believe I just got through that! That was amazing!” after bear-hugging KChen. But she had no reason to be — she sounded amazing, of course. And she rocks that harmony.
5. She’s Starring in The Last Five Years movie.
She’s playing Cathy in The Last Five Years movie with Jeremy Jordan. Let it be known that you don’t sing Jason Robert Brown unless you know what the hell you’re doing. It’s hard. But this film adaptation is in the capable hands of two musical theater veterans, and isn’t a piece of stunt-casting nonsense like the usual musical to movie adaptations. Because even if you work with vocal coaches to learn how to sing for a movie, you can never beat true talent. Take note, people.
6. She’s Starring in the Into the Woods movie as Cinderella.
Remember how I was just talking about stunt-casting nonsense? Well, the Into the Woods movie is a prime example. Again, if you cast a bunch of well-loved actors who can’t sing, their fame will only carry a musical so far. Johnny Depp? We already know that he can’t sing, hence the autotune-fest that was the Sweeney Todd movie. Meryl Streep? Obviously she is Queen Mother of the Western Skies, but that shouldn’t make her immune from criticism about not being able to sing. And she really can’t, hence Mamma Mia. Looks like it’s up to Anna Kendrick, one of the only cast members with actual musical training, to carry this movie. Be strong, Anna. She’ll be starring as Cinderella, and her trained voice will probably be a welcome reprieve from Emily Blunt “giving it her best.” (And we know this isn’t it, but it is the part she’s playing.)