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BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42

In her new club act, actress Jennifer Diamond asserts her right to sing show tunes. Without apology.

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42

Shortly into her club act last night Jennifer Diamond remarked, "If you don't like musical theater, this is going to be a long night for you." Well, it wasn't. One suspects that Jennifer Diamond could have sung an hour of bluegrass, funk, reggae, or disco and it wouldn't be a long night. The affable actress, a pleasing presence with powerful pipes, need not even sing to entertain, but since musical theater was her first love, sing she did, and the program was, indeed, almost exclusively musical theater.

It still wasn't a long night.

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 Ms. Diamond's one-woman nightclub act is titled LET ME BE ME, a possible indication that there have been people or occasions in her life when she was not allowed to be that person that is, most uniquely, her. It seems rather difficult to believe because nowhere could a person find a young woman so charming as a lovely breeze sweeping through the room. Why on earth would anyone want to hold Jennifer from her authenticity? And last night at The Green Room 42, authentic was in the air as Diamond regaled her Standing Room Only audience with stories about the life of a working actress and a new mom. At first blush, the life of a working actress and new mom might sound a bit banal but in the hands of Diamond (and director Robbie Rozelle, with whom she wrote her script) the stories become a humorous, touching, slice of life woven in, out, and around the show tunes that Diamond and Rozelle most felt informed her life. With an enviable Broadway belt, Ms. Diamond performed a setlist made up of songs from the likes of Aida, The Bridges of Madison County, and The Secret Garden, but craftily arranged by musical director Luke Williams to aid the singing actress in the telling of tales about quarantining in an unappealing airb&b, her brush with edibles, and the possibility of a famous Phantom singing at her wedding. Mostly, though, Jennifer's rhetoric leaned into two topics: the (clear and always palpable) devotion she has for her husband and daughter, and her nearly lifelong obsession with acting in musicals. Specific to the latter topic at hand, last night, was a litany of near-misses, opportunities denied and dreams not-yet-fulfilled. This is where Rozelle has served his star in the extreme.

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 Many times unemployed actors will take their talent to the nightclub stage, and many times their dialogue with the audience is about the shows they missed, the gigs they didn't get, and the parts they didn't play. This is extremely dangerous territory because if it isn't done in precisely the right way, it can savor strongly of bitterness. There is nothing appetizing about a club act informed by complaining. Fortunately for all, there wasn't any complaining last night. Jennifer Diamond recounted, with humor, audition horror stories, roles for which she pines, jobs she didn't land, and after each one she announced that it's ok, that there's still time: it was an extremely effective way to keep the air light, to put her positivity on display, and to reaffirm that which she had already established: her family is first and foremost. Never, at any time, did the negativity of a disgruntled actor get into the air, because there wasn't a disgruntled actor on the stage.

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 As for that family, the focus of which is Diamond's primary reason for waking each day, those stories last night were gold enough to serve as the bearing beam of the show. Candidly sharing the story of the Las Vegas-based surrogacy that gave her and husband, Rob, their beautiful daughter Leia, Jennifer inspired laughter in her monologues before turning to tears with the song "The Story Goes On," a composition that will elicit a response from anyone who is a mother or has a mother, and with this song, the beltress let the audience in on a little secret: she is a soprano. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the brassy belt that had started the show with Sir Elton and Misters Rice and LaChuisa was replaced by a rich, full, legit soprano that made a person melt. How wonderful it is to have an artist surprise you, and one suspects Jennifer Diamond has surprises that go beyond this gorgeous and emotion-stirring one.

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 Well, she did. Jennifer Diamond waited until the end of LET ME BE ME to let the crowd know that this show-tune-themed program was going to conclude with some rock and roll. Deftly lifting the famous Bette Midler arrangement of "You Can't Always Get What You Want/I Shall Be Released" off of the Divine Madness Album and placing it in the center spot of The Green Room 42, Diamond bore a striking resemblance to a rocker chick, getting down into the song, the lyrics, the vibe and her own rock star fantasies, and though she had spent the entire evening belting and trilling, she carried the Divine Miss M's legacy into her own life, leaving this writer wanting more rock, more pop, more folk music from Jennifer Diamond. Maybe next time.

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 On the topic of Maybe This Time, it should be said that, aside from "The Story Goes On," the Liza Minnelli classic was the triumph of the night (one that featured stellar performances of the not-oft-performed "Electricity" and "The Museum Song" - both interesting choices this writer applauds). It is a tightrope that one actively chooses, singing "Maybe This Time" but Ms. Diamond more than acquitted herself of the task - she rose to the occasion and beyond. Indeed, most of her program fit her aesthetic and her goal like a glove - only two things stood out as requiring some attention for the next go round: her backup singers and her guest artists.

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 Jennifer invited two talented Broadway actors to stop by the stage for a quick visit and musical number, something a lot of people do, which is fine. Donna Vivino's appearance in the show came immediately after a comedic monologue about the number of times Jennifer has auditioned to play Elphaba. Vivino, a former Green Girl, joined Jennifer on the stage for an Elphaba-informed version of "The Grass Is Always Greener" that featured new, Diamond-Vivino-relevant lyrics by director Rozelle. Mauricio Martinez's presence in the show (while always welcome) came with no purpose. That is fine. If Ms. Diamond wanted to say, "This is my friend, Mauricio, and we've always wanted to sing together, so here we go," that would have been fine. A cabaret show is like a ballet, and follow-through is everything; reason will always win out over random. The fact that there was a script tie-in for one guest artist to appear but no purposeful explanation for the other left an imbalance in the show, one easily fixed with a little script revision.

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 As for the backup singers - the obviously gifted Caitlin Gallogly and Joseph C. Townsend - they were too loud. Backup singers are there to support, not overshadow, and the fact that Ms. Gallogly and Mr. Townsend got in front of Jennifer Diamond, vocally, was an issue that should have been addressed during tech rehearsal, either by Mr. Rozelle himself or TGR42 Tech Director Sheridan Glover, either by instructing the duo to dial it back or place a greater emphasis on blending, or by tweaking some knobs on the control panel. It's a small quibble to make but there is no doubt that both of the talented artists singing from stage left will have solo shows of their own, and soon: this was Jennifer Diamond's - her voice should never have faded from prominence during the evening.

As for Jennifer Diamond herself, the title of her new club act might urge everyone to Let Me Be Me, but the truth is that every single one of the people who turned up to see her delightful performance last night needs no encouragement in that task. Let Jennifer Diamond be Jennifer Diamond?

With pure joy.

The LET ME BE ME Band was Luke Williams on Piano and Musical Direction, E. Zoe Hassman on Cello, David Mayers on Guitar, Wes Bourland on Bass, Evan Hyde on Drums, with Cailtin Gallogly & Joseph C. Townsend on Backup Vocals

Jennifer Diamond Let Me Be Me was a one-off but other great shows can be found at The Green Room 42 website HERE.

Jennifer Diamond has a website HERE.

Jennifer Diamond gets a five out of five microphones rating for performing her entire show without the use of a lyric sheet, tablet, or music stand.

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42

BWW Review: Jennifer Diamond Owns Her Fabulosity In LET ME BE ME at The Green Room 42 Photos by Stephen Mosher


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From This Author - Stephen Mosher