Reviewed by Stephen Visser
While the audience was scarce at the Friday night performance of Those Gorgeous, Glamorous Girl Groups; the energy, and sheer electricity of this bombshell cast was enough to send shivers down the spine of the most skeptical theatre-goer. This original work features a book by Charles H. Winfrey, and Music Direction by William Guy. This was actually my first time ever seeing an offering at the McCree Theatre. And I was dancing all the way out. Most importantly my three-year-old daughter (my date) was singing ‘Mr. Postman’ the whole car ride home. If you’ve never been, I’d highly recommend this group. This is a hidden gem in our community, people.
As I fingered through the program; I expected a typical revue. What I got? An experience. It was a tantalizing mixture of brilliantly crafted harmonies, and enlightening historical epitaph that highlighted the struggle, and more importantly the footprint of African American feminist culture.
Director Billie Scott Lindo has assembled a chronically talented cast for this historical tribute. While everyone deserves mention because of the quality, there were several performers who left me speechless. One of which was Fred Fife. He provided a beautiful rendition of “Black Pearl”. His vocals were impeccable. His voice was perfectly clear and had stunning tonality.
I also appreciated Lindo’s staging of this number. It was a perfect opening to this piece that pays tribute to those striking female groups. The number was filled with beautiful women all wearing simple black dresses and tiaras. They were smiling bright, and served as the perfect metaphor for the imprint they left on the American music scene.
Two performers who were simply breathtaking, and provided incredible vocals throughout the night were Aryia Canada and Michala Anderson. These are some incredibly talented young women who can harmonize immaculately. They were utilized well throughout the show, and provided impressive vocals all night.
Alby Winfrey’s set design was simple, but perfect. It was dominated by platforms, and levels that allowed for many entrances and exits throughout the production. As this is a show that slips into many different vignettes, it functioned very well. And of course, there was a meticulously rehearsed live band in the center of the stage. These guys (William Guy, Kenneth Hampton, Ulyssey Bailey, and Kent Crawley) were in-freaking-credible. They didn’t miss a beat all night, and they were responsible for most of my toe-tapping dance moves on the way out (I’m not sure if they want to take credit for that).
Ever so often we come across a production that moves us, and this was definitely one of those for me. There are only two more performances today, but you can still get your tickets if you hurry. You will be immersed in powerful musical numbers, and be given a platform to reminisce about all Those Gorgeous, Glamorous Girl Groups that left an imprint on your heart growing up. Warning: I will be there dancing again tonight. And it may not be pretty.
Those Gorgeous, Glamorous Girl Groups performs twice today at 2:00 and 7:00pm. For tickets and information contact the box office at 810-787-2200 or online at http://www.thenewmccreetheatre.com/