It is always a challenge to perform a number from a Broadway musical when the song is taken out of context. Andi Allen, the writer and director of Broadway Our Way: Dirty Rotten Divas
at Uptown Players has decided to meet this challenge by switching genders and have males perform songs usually performed on stage by females and visa versa. Does this concept work? Unfortunately, not for much of the evening.
Having four women instead of four men sing "Scrap" from The Full Monty robs the song of much of its poignancy and feeling. In a similar fashion, a rendition of "I, Don Quixote" from Man of La Mancha sung by a woman did not add any value to its performance. For the most part, the songs were performed right on top of each other with little or no continuity. Also, some of the writing and staging of these songs was done in a pandering manner. Turning "It's a Woman's World" from The Full Monty into "It's a Gay Man's World" provided for a cheap and cloying number. The low point of the evening was when "At the Ballet" from A Chorus Line was used as a backdrop for some mindless slapstick.
However, Broadway Our Way is not without its compensations. Denise Lee gave a stunning rendition of "Make Them Hear You" from Ragtime. Patty Breckenridge delighted with the intense "Being Alive" from Company and Natalie King scored with the powerful "When I First You" from Dreamgirls. Chad Peterson provided ample dosages of humor in "Taylor the Latte Boy" from Adventures in Love. John de los Santos had the audience cheering with the dance routine he performed to "The Music and The Mirror" from A Chorus Line. Mr. de los Santos also choreographed the other effective dances seen in the production. B.J. Cleveland was engagingly outrageous in and out of drag.
Broadway Our Way: Dirty Rotten Divas is an opportunity to see many of your favorite local performers together on the same stage, even though the show's direction certainly has room for improvement.
Broadway Our Way continues through January 14 at Uptown Players. For more information, please visit their website.
Please Note: Broadway Our Way is intended for mature audiences only.
Photo Credit: Linda Blase