BWW Preview: Miranda Sings Brings Her Bizarrely Wonderful, Must-See Show to Actor's Express
With more than 1 billion unique visitors each month, no one with an internet connection doubts the power of YouTube. The video sharing site has spawned some of the biggest pop culture phenomenons of the past decade; from the good (Straight No Chaser), to the bad (Justin Bieber), to the ridiculous (Rebecca Black).
However, perhaps no YouTube-spawned star better incapsulates what is right and wrong with the site better than Miranda Sings (check out all of her videos, it's worth it). Miranda is a musically (and socially) tone-deaf singer, who posts covers of the best songs from the stage and radio. This Friday and Saturday (June 21st-June 22nd), she will bring her one-of-a-kind stage show to Actor's Express for a three-show engagement.
Miranda first made her online presence known in 2008 and since has grown into an international superstar with over 50 million YouTube views on her two channels, while performing her live show around the world. As an admitted fan, it is hard for me to nail down exactly what makes this trainwreck so fascinating to watch; is it her bizarre mispronunciations (my personal favorite is "escited"), her liberal use of bright red lipstick (see picture above), her annoying "Tada!" catchphrase, or her inhuman inability to hit notes in any key, let alone the one in the song she is singing.
Obviously, such a prolific video-poster, with such little going for her, has inspired a mountain of negative comments, but whether through an extra sturdy stiff upper-red-lip, or through a sheer obliviousness to how internet trolls operate, she soldiers on. However, as Miranda's online success grew, eagle-eyed YouTube purveyors noticed that Miranda bore a striking resemblance to a musical theatre actress with a considerable amount of additonal talent, Colleen Ballinger.
Despite initial denials, eventually it became clear that Miranda was Ballinger's satiric version of the conceited and self-unaware performers who post overly-dramatic and musically-deficient videos online. A classically trained singer and actress from California, Ballinger created her character after encountering a number of prima donna fellow theatre majors at Azusa Pacific University. While her singing might not be anywhere near pitch-perfect, the character's comedic lampooning of self-aggrandizing divas surely is.
The comic timing and extreme facial contortions, that are Miranda's hallmarks, are evident in Azusa's 2007 production of Jason Robert Brown's two-person musical "The Last Five Years" (which is currently being filmed for a big-screen adaptation, starring Tony-nominee Jeremy Jordan and Tony and Academy Award-nominee Anna Kendrick). As aspiring actress Cathy, a young Ballinger shows not only those comedic chops she is now known for, but also an impressive musical theatre belt (Check her out in "Climbing Up Hill" and "A Summer in Ohio").
When you compare those performances, or her many others online, with some of Miranda's greatest hits, it is evident that only a truly talented performer could make the Miranda character believable, let alone as endearing as she ends up being. My personal favorite Miranda Sings performances are "Dance 10, Looks 3" from "A Chorus Line", her insane, free voice lesson, and a duet between Miranda and Ballinger. Despite videos of her live transformation (tada!), some online viewers still aren't in on the joke, and continue to leave those vicious comments (reading them is nearly as funny as the videos themselves).
Described as part stand-up and part cabaret, in the show, often both Miranda and Ballinger sing, which only further serves to illustrate what a star personality Ballinger is. This is a show that any performance art, musical theatre, or even Andy Kaufman fan MUST see! If history, or the internet, is any indication, this will be one of the concert highlights of the year in Atlanta.
Actor's Express is located at the King Plow Art Center. Miranda will be performing June 21 at 8:00pm and on June 22 at 8:00 and 11:00pm. Get your tickets quick, or you will regret it! Trust me and call 404-607-SHOW(7469) or visit the AE website.