Theater Notes: One you missed and one you must not miss
Theater is alive and well in SW Florida. My job is to urge you to go see live theater, and to bring kids to show them what it means to be part of a live audience watching live actors in present time.
A case in point. A “must see” show just opened at the BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater. It is one of the best things I’ve seen all summer. And kids can get in for $5. Nothing should stop you, because the musical review “Duets” is a brilliant collage put on by three of the top talents around.
The back story is tender. Bobby Logue, gifted artistic director of the theater, rounded up two women who were all friends back when the three were enrolled in the musical theater program at Wagner College in New York. The three friends wove together the very best songs they knew from their Broadway and beyond careers.
What a treat to see how vast Bobby’s talent is, as he brought such warmth, wit and unity to the show with his fine voice, and tap dancing feet, and friendship. Yes, friendship was a fourth character in that play the whole evening. What joy.
Now, those two women, can really sing. I’ve rarely heard such brilliant duets. You just have to go hear it yourself. The opening night audience when they leapt to their feet shouting bravos, spoke of what the evening meant.
Thanks goes to Bobby and his friends, Kathy Brier and Jeanette Fitzpatrick. The two women are truly Broadway divas. Kathy starred as Tracy Turnblad in “Hairspray” and she has played Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl” and way back, Rizzo in “Grease.” Her Sophie Tucker bit had the opening night audience almost rolling on the floor. Kathy recently won another Grammy Award, no small accomplishment.
And that lovely blonde Jeanette sent that gorgeous voice of hers to the rafters and it almost broke the chandelier as the two dueled in one of the pop classics “I can do anything better than you.” My notes show that there were something like 18 Broadway hit songs in the Act I alone. Talk about a feel good evening. This was it. I urge you to get to the box office fast because I predict “sell out houses” for this magnificent show. There are only 11 performances. It closes on Dec. 3. The Strauss number is: (239) 472-6862, or www.bigarts.org/theater .
Now, the one you missed. It was “Stage Kiss,” at one of my favorite courageous theaters, The Laboratory Theater of Florida in downtown Ft. Myers. The lead was played by my all time favorite actress, Annette Trossbach. She was absolutely superb, yet in a play that wasn’t my cup of tea. Stay in touch with that theater. Ambitious things are ahead and I’ll be with you wherever there is live theater.