BWW Review: Fitting for International Women's Day, Theatre Three offers RESPECT: A MUSICAL JOURNEY OF WOMEN
Respect: A Musical Journey Of Women - currently playing through March 25th at Port Jefferson's gorgeous Theatre Three - is truly a thought-provoking show taking the audience on a roller coaster of emotions. The musical, created by Dorothy Marcic, takes us on the journey of women - inspired by the women in her life - through generations of Top 40 music. As society has changed, the attitude and tone in music has changed and with this production, Dorothy has basically built the soundtrack of generations of women. Do we as women have further to go? Yes, but the progress that we see is really inspiring from the "doting housewife" to influential civil rights activists to Presidents of essential organizations.
This isn't some fluffy jukebox musical, though. It is compelling, has a lot of heart, and has a wonderful display of the rise of women-power. The story is being told by Dorothy and Theatre Three vet Elizabeth Ann Castrogiovanni is brilliantly our narrator for this production. Together with Amanda-Camille, Lori Beth Belkin, and Jessica Contino, these super talented power-houses superbly tell Dorothy's tale in the Mary Powers directed production.
At the beginning of the show and throughout the first act, they sing such hits as "Bird In A Cage", "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" from Showboat, and Ella Fitzgerald's "Won't You Come Home, Bill Baily?". Then time progresses to songs including "Whatever Lola Wants" from Damn Yankees, Doris Day's "Que Sera, Sera", and "I Will Follow Him" by Peggy March. This is when women were perceived as weak and delicate and, to some degree, silenced.
The second act begins in the late 1960's/Early 1970's with the Chiffons' "Sweet Talking Guy", Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me", Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman", and, of course, the iconic "I Will Survive". Then we move onto Joplin's "Piece Of My Heart", Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun". We then move into the 1990's/2000's with Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love Of All", Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful", Martina McBride's "Through My Daughter's Eyes", Britney Spears' "Oops! I Did It Again", and "Video" by India.Arie. Then excellently finishing with a rousing rendition of Patti LaBelle's "New Attitude". OK, that last one is from the 1980's, but it is a strong and critical closer for this show. These are not all the songs in the semi-revue type show, but the whole score is smart and you can plainly differentiate the tone of the songs from the two acts.
And so, Respect: A Musical Journey Of Women is indeed another hit for Theatre Three. Look for this production locally as it hasn't hit Broadway (yet!). An inspiring production and wonderful cast make for an empowering night of theatre.
Respect: A Musical Journey Of Women runs through March 25th at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson, Long Island. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 928-9100 or visit www.theaterthree.com.
Starring Amanda-Camille, Lori Beth Belkin, Elizabeth Ann Castrogiovanni, and Jessica Contino
Created by Dorothy Marcic, Directed by Mary Powers, Musical Direction by Steve McCoy, Choreography by Sari Feldman, Set Design by Randall Parsons, Costume Design by Ronald Green III, Lighting Design by Robert W. Henderson, Jr., Stage Management by Peter Casdia