New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Review: Reneé Rapp’s ‘Snow Hard Feelings’ Tour

With one special guest, two openers and three pairs of pants, Rapp returned to New York to perform with her own sound.
Natalie Thomas
(Natalie Thomas for WSN)

From Broadway to Max to touring her debut album, “Snow Angel,” actress and singer Reneé Rapp has had a successful past five years. She originally rose to fame with her performance in the 2018 Jimmy Awards, ultimately landing her the role of Regina George in Broadway’s “Mean Girls.” Three years after her stage debut, she performed in “The Sex Lives of College Girls” as rich-brat-turned-gay-icon Leighton Murray. Her debut EP, “Everything to Everyone,” was released last November, followed shortly by the release of “Snow Angel” in August. 

As part of her “Snow Hard Feelings Tour,” Rapp performed her first New York City show on Oct. 30 at Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen. Before entering the arena, we waited in the freezing cold for hours to get a good view. When we eventually got inside, we ran to warm up and grab water. Once we secured a place toward the front of the crowd, we were able to see the set, which was structured to represent the emotions of all four seasons. It featured mossy greenery and colorful flowers, offering a natural base to support the visual effects that would be later projected behind her.

She opened the show with the ironically named “Talk Too Much,” followed by her amusing take on meaningless hatred with “Poison Poison.” It was a clear fan-favorite, with the crowd deafeningly screaming back the lyrics “And yes, I am a feminist / But, bitch, you’re makin’ it so hard for me to always be supportin’ all women (I hate that bitch).” To be honest, we sang it from our hearts because it was how we felt about the girls who cut through the crowd to stand in front of us. She later sang “Pretty Girls,” where the crowd energetically waved homemade bisexual pride flags with Rapp’s face pasted in the middle. These high-energy songs set the tone for the rest of the show.

This playfulness lasted the whole night. Rapp took a quick break to interact with an audience member’s sign that read “Find me a Pretty Girl,” playing matchmaker and finding them another someone to stand with for the night. During a dance break in her song “Willow,” she said, “My pants are falling down, but I need to shake some ass.” And she did — Rapp went back to her theater-kid roots and ran offstage, quick-changing into a more fitted pair of pants to “shake some ass” in peace.

Rapp did not “Talk Too Much” between songs. In fact, we would have loved more moments of interaction with the crowd. The show, spanning only 75 minutes and 18 songs, could have honestly been a little longer. 

In the show, Rapp expressed her love for New York — having lived in the area during her Broadway career — and of course, mourned her pants. “We’ve had some silly shows — I think this is the silliest,” Rapp said.

Despite being so short, her vocals made every fleeting moment of the show worth it. Rapp’s range and riffs were stunning throughout the whole performance. Her musical theater background shined as she flawlessly transitioned from belting to vibrato to her head voice. This was evident in her performance of “I Hate Boston,” where she moved from emotionally charged high notes to soft, lilting melodies. Her vibrato stood out in “Gemini Moon,” a song two of us were happy to hear as Gemini moons ourselves. Represent.

Rapp also touchingly incorporated each of her openers into her setlist. She brought out Towa Bird on guitar during “Tummy Hurts,” a pop-rock anthem raging at an ex. Album collaborator Alexander 23 sat beside Rapp for “I Wish,” an emotional ballad discussing the loss of innocence that comes with grief. This heartfelt moment unveiled the vulnerability that went into the album’s production and the friendships created by the collaborations. We particularly loved these moments spotlighting the openers, because both had impressive performances during the two-hour wait for Rapp. 

In the middle of the show, Rapp ominously asked the audience if we knew what day it was. Most people, including us, were confused — Monday? However, one guy got it right — it was “Wicked’s” 20th anniversary. To celebrate, she announced she would sing us a song from the musical with someone she was “overwhelmingly excited” to sing it with. The audience waited in anticipation as she got through the first chorus of “For Good,” before Lizzy McAlpine unexpectedly joined to finish the duet, astonishing the crowd. Their voices together were the perfect addition to an already perfect performance. 

As an encore, she ended the show with her debut album’s lead single “Snow Angel” after coming back onstage in a new all-white outfit — hint, hint, her third pair of pants. It was beautiful and emotional and bubbles that looked like snow fell from the ceiling. She stayed on stage while the audience cheered, thanked her band and wished us all a good night: “Don’t be sorry, be careful.”

The night was the first of Rapp’s New York City shows. She is set to perform at Avant Gardner on Nov. 2 and return to Terminal 5 the following night, before ending this leg of her tour in the United Kingdom next week.

Contact Natalie Thomas, Anna Baird-Hassell and Emily Genova at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Natalie Thomas
Natalie Thomas, Editor-at-Large
Anna Baird-Hassell
Anna Baird-Hassell, Copy Chief
Anna Baird-Hassell is a junior studying Sociology with a minor in Irish Studies. She is an at-home barista fond of hugs, meditation, speaking her limited Irish Gaelic and reviewing films on Letterboxd @abairdhassell. You can also find her on Instagram @annabairdhassell or email her at [email protected].
Emily Genova
Emily Genova, Managing Editor
Emily Genova is a senior studying Media, Culture, and Communication and Creative Writing. She spends her free time reading, obsessing over pop artists and speed walking around campus. You can find her on Instagram @emilygenova or email her at [email protected]

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