Concept by Jerry Herman and Larry Alford
Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman
Directed by Neale Whitmore
Theatre Review by Doug Sturdivant
My thoughts on Jerry’s Girls or I’m overjoyed and overwhelmed and overpowered.
It only takes a moment to realize Jerry’s Girls is a bit like stepping into a time machine. The set designed by Rodney Dobbs evokes past beauty pageants and extravagant television specials from the seventies that would showcase the talents of Debbie Reynolds or Mitzi Gaynor. The multilevel checkered stage backed by elegant draperies says, “class act,” and Meghan Settle’s beautifully soft lighting enhances it all. The costumes in the production by Michael Robinson are Bob Mackie style glamorous, and if you are looking to buy sequins any time soon, you best wait a bit because every one of them in DFW is on stage.
Jerry’s Girls is a revue that features songs from every Jerry Herman musical. There is only a sentence or two of dialogue, and talk is unnecessary here. The songs tell mini-stories, and most of them are so familiar that foot tapping and humming music director’s M. Shane Hurst’s onstage band could be heard throughout the auditorium. It is indeed a struggle to keep still when you hear those fabulous tunes from Hello Dolly, Mame, La Cage Aux Folles, and more.
The “girls” in Jerry’s Girls and our “hosts” for the evening are the superb singer/actors Robin Clayton, Stephanie Felton, and Stacia Goad-Malone. Having any of these magnificent singers in a production would be a coup. To have all three is nothing short of thrilling. It is almost impossible to choose which one of their songs is a highlight when every song is perfectly sung and staged. Director Neale Whitmore wisely lets each “girl” showcase her singing and comic talents. Robin Clayton’s “Wherever He Ain’t” and “Gooch’s Song” is sublime and hilarious, respectively. Gifted comedian Stephanie Felton nearly brings the house down with her striptease in “Take It All Off” and then sings a touching version of “If He Walked into My Life.” Stacia Goad-Malone is terrific slinging subtle insults in her “Bosom Buddies” duet with Clayton, and her “Before The Parade Passes By” is a movingly staged and sung work of art.
There are more girls in Jerry’s Girls. Kirsten Amerongen, Melissa Feldman, Sydney Hamil, Tessa Newman, and Mia Tremmel are known as the “Featured Ladies,” but these ladies are more than featured; they are the show’s backbone. The “Featured Ladies” are almost always on stage harmonizing and executing the choreography of Kelly Holmes, which features some showgirls moves, a bit of vaudeville, and enough hip-swiveling to make Elvis stir in his grave. Each of the “Featured Ladies” gets her solo, and all are splendid. However, I must give a special shout-out to Kirsten Amerongen, who belts out “Two A Day” while stripping off lots of clothes.
Director Neale Whitmore has fashioned an enormously appealing homage to the genius that was Jerry Herman.
Where: Theatre Frisco | 8004 Dallas Pkwy, Suite 200, Frisco
When: Now – March 6
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