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Archive for the ‘Divas’ Category

When I go to a one-performer show, I expect a loose narrative for the performer to show off his or her talents – particularly if the show is steeped in music.  I don’t expect a fully-formed plot with character development that relies as equally on the dramatic skills of the performer as his/her well-recognized comedic and musical talents.  While Sarah Jones & Anna Deveare Smith have transcended the genre by inhabiting multiple characters to create a narrative, musical performers tend to rely on their vocal prowess to enrapture the audience.  Having seen both Bea Arthur and Elaine Stritch do this incredibly well, I was still struck by the balance of an actual plotline in Sherie Rene Scott’s Everyday Rapture.

I had seen the earlier incarnation of the show at Second Stage, and was thrilled to hear it was finally transferring to the big stage.  Strangely hosted by the Roundabout at their play revival theatre, Everyday Rapture isn’t simply a one-woman performance.  There are some other performers contributing, but Scott, with co-writer Dick Scanlon, is delivering arguably the most complete new musical of the season.

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I’ve been hiding out working, but I’m coming back with a plethora of posting over the next week.  At least I’d like to think so.

But, I’m taking a hot minute to pay tribute to my beloved icon, Pam Grier.  Today’s her birthday, and she deserves some love.  Ever the beacon of pride, soul, and screen presence, she rode her curves and attitude to huge fame (and hopefully some cash).

(Fair warning – there is serious cleavage on display.)

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Jose wrote a lovely summary over at the Film Experience, celebrating Sarah Jessica Parker’s 45th birthday today, given that the former square peg is now a style icon.

But, she’s far from the only icon who has today as birthday.

See who joins her & hear some honorary music after the jump. (more…)

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While it can be delicious for an actor to chew scenery and toss out bon mots for two hours, if that’s all the play consists of, its disappointing.  And at the seemingly cursed Lyceum Theatre, Valerie Harper is giving a magnificent impersonation of Tallulah Bankhead in Looped, but is ultimately let down by an unfocused play.

Looped recounts a fictionalized version of Bankhead’s notorious looping of a single line over an entire day.  A fervent lush on the way to her alcohol-fueled death, at this point in her career, she was doing whatever it took to pay her bills and garner a modicrum of fame.  Which would have been an interesting character development to explore, but it wasn’t – although there was a recognition of it when Bankhead’s film editor lashes back with “you gave up being an actress to be a celebrity”. (more…)

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Halfway through Women’s History Month, I figured I would pay tribute to two women I adore – two variations on the concept of a Queen of the Night.

First up, Diana Damrau launched her career on playing the Queen in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, easily rupturing eardrums with powerful upper notes in the iconic role.

Following up, my dear Nippy, Whitney Houston goes all Rachel Marron with her performance of Queen of the Night from her legendary The Bodyguard.

Sing on, ladies.  Queens indeed.

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Today is International Women’s Day, and in honor of it being the 100th instance, I’m offering up a quadruple set of performances.  These four women each created their own sets of classics, yet were able to take other stars’ hits into their own mantras.  Its about their presence, their power, and their capabilities to interpret that make these women special.

Shirley Bassey takes on Jerry Herman’s I Am What I Am (from La Cage), Dusty Springfield gives a lovely If You Go Away, Lena Horne goes all Henry Mancini with Moon River, and Aretha going from gospel to opera with Nessun Dorma.

All divine, all majestic, all woman all the time.

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To kick of Women’s History Month properly, I figured a tribute to a fallen woman by two who live and perform on their own terms, and one having risen despite some rather difficult circumstances, would be apropos.  Here from the 2005 Grammys are Joss Stone & Melissa Etheridge paying tribute to Janis Joplin with Cry Baby & Piece of My Heart.

This was Melissa’s first public performance since her treatment for cancer, and just rips the roof off of the Grammys.

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