Who would believe that the tales of life and powerful emotions expressed so elegantly by Amanda McBroom in her words and music could land so perfectly in sync on the stage of the Laurie Beechman Theatre as envisioned through the eyes and heart of Eric Michael Gillett?
The conception is a tribute to women of all styles, shapes and personalities ideally described by the multitude of songs that Amanda McBroom has written throughout her career. She came to public notice when “The Rose,” recorded by Bette Midler, became an instant sensation. It was this fragrant smelling Rose (sung here by Sarah Rice) that swirled around in the brain of Eric Michael for some 35 years that resulted in this project.
Bringing together some of cabaret and theater’s leading singers, each with her own personality, vocal interpretation and technique, and matching them with the personality of the magnitude of McBroom songs, was no easy challenge. But it’s now a brilliant reality. The songs and many singers are just too numerous to mention so here is just a small sampling as examples:
“Wheels” with Raissa Katona Bennett, Leah Jennings, Eva Kantor, Melanie Vaughan – a mini concert of solos and layering of harmonies; the humorous day to day life of “Putting Things Away” as portrayed by KT Sullivan; the lilting ever sweet flow by Heather Mac Rae (music Michele Brourman) as “Hope Floats;” sassy, raunchy, outrageous songs like “The Bitch Is Out” as interpreted by Lacretta Nicole; the every-woman’s mantra of learning to love cottage cheese in “Dieter’s Prayer” (music by Gerald Sternbach) as only Marta Sanders can deliver.
Images of photographs, as seen differently everyday, evoked songs like “Errol Flynn,” a true to life saga about Amanda’s Dad, the actor (written by Amanda and Gordon Hunt) and fervently sung by Lorinda Lisitza; the quiet and so very powerful “The Portrait” achingly sung by Karen Akers; a steamy jazzy “Hot in Here” by the sultry Rosemary Loar; a sensuous “Crimes of the Heart” as interpreted by La Tanya Hall; “For Nothing,” richly interpreted by Terese Genecco, and oh, so many more!
The songs cover every truth, emotion, love or loss of, life's funny moments, and the resilience of the human spirit. This monumental undertaking is only the beginning as it refines and winds its way to something much more.
Congratulations to Eric Michael Gillett for his conception and direction, together with the multi-talented Jeff Cubeta at the piano and Matt Scharfglass on bass.
The last performance in this 4-part series occurs Sat. March 16 at 7:00 pm www.beechmantheatre.com