BWW Reviews: Sunny Thompson and MARILYN: FOREVER BLONDE! are More Than Wonderful
MARILYN: FOREVER BLONDE! wiggles, flirts, giggles and quips its way into your heart. In this one woman show with more drinking than an O'Neill play, Sunny Thompson takes us on a trip through Monroe's life of sex, storybook romances (if you judge a book by its cover), show-biz pain and real-life tragedy.
Before the curtains rose, I knew I was in for a good time. Frank Sinatra's "Fools Rush In" and "I've Got You Under My Skin" set the mood and encapsulate the play all at once.
Director Stephanie Shine adeptly paces the story. This diamond never loses its shape.
For so long the famous actress has either had her acting ridiculed as over hyped dumb blondeness or her singing elegiacally compared to Ella Fitzgerald's. Greg Thompson's writing avoids those pitfalls. His script creates a more detailed, rounded out image of the late legend. It aims to portray Marilyn the little girl, Marilyn the running wild child, and Marilyn the misfit. Is it too on the nose? No. It humanizes Marilyn in a way that recognizes the tragedy of her life while not ignoring how high she flew at times.
Sunny Thompson gives a masterful performance. She was not kidding when she said she'd read over 250 books in her Broadway World interview. She is and gives an incredible likeness of Marilyn Monroe through her varied and precise mannerisms and diction. Remarkably, Sunny Thompson's vocals are true to Marilyn's vocal style while staying true to her own. On her own, Sunny Thompson is a wonderful singer with a sultry, honey tinged voice. In "Through With Love," she proves that Marilyn's stylized singing (and for that matter acting and living) could also be authentic and feeling. And she and director Stephanie Shine seem to know exactly when it's appropriate to veer away from mimicry and to exaggerate those aforementioned vocal and physical tics for comedic effect.
Singing Sunny's praises aside, she has some help from Make-Up Designer Jimmy James who transforms her visage into Marilyn's and Text and Speech Coach Kimberly White.
It's a fantastic show.
Missed Sunny at MARILYN: FOREVER BLONDE? Well, you have a few more chances to see the talented actress. She will be announcing her 2015 "Marilyn: Forever Blonde" schedule in October 2014.
Currently, she is working on two shows she will perform on a world cruise this fall from Asia to Australia HOLLYWOOD BLONDES and SUNNY SINGS SINATRA.
And she is also the music director for Greg Thompson's wildly successful SNOWFLAKE LANE Celebration that runs from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve in Bellevue, Washington. For more information, visit http://www.marilynforeverblonde.com/.
MARILYN: FOREVER BLONDE! ran from August 21 - 23, 8:00 pm at the Wortham. But, there are still some great events coming up from the Brilliant Lecture Series. For more information, visit http://www.brilliantlectures.org/.
Photos courtesy of Sunny Thompson