BWW Review: The New York Pops Gave Us Diva Realness With I'M EVERY WOMAN: DIVAS ON STAGE And Made Valentine's Day An All-inclusive Love Fest
Heigh-Ho, My Merry Rainbow Tribe! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in cabareT to bring you all the T! (Unless it's the T in concerT)
For Valentine's Day my darlings, we took our sparkly pumps uptown to Carnegie Hall for an extra special serving of diva realness. Stephen Reineke and his New York Pops Orchestra offered up a program titled I'M EVERY WOMAN: DIVAS ON STAGE featuring former Elphabas Mandy Gonzalez & Carrie Manolakos together with GLEE and Broadway's gender non-conforming Diva - Alex Newell. Together they lifted the hundred-and-thirty-year-old concert hall's roof, fixtures and all! The program consisted of songs by divas, sung by the evening's 3 divas; moving through the three singers with two songs each to start with, then mixing and matching solos, duets and trios with stirring Act 1 & Act 2 finales. As each singer took their turn they performed with everything they had; with a most powerful moment for Manolakos as her, at first, breathy lost love interpretation of I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU lifted further and further up the mountain of Whitney Houston's arrangement to such a level that much of the hall was on its feet at the end in approbation (What? Bobby knows words!).
Newell, classically "DIVA" attired in a gorgeous maroon sequinned gown with ostrich feather sleeves, and long beautiful tresses took on challenging material sung originally by Shirley Bassey, Aretha Franklin and wrapped up the evening with a truly earth-shattering rendition of Jennifer Holiday's AND I AM TELLING YOU. A feast for the eyes as well, Gonzalez started the evening wearing beautiful silk and chiffon in shades of purple - light to dark - and Manolakos, a stunning full chiffon gown of lightest taupe with star-like sequins, the lady divas earned their titles not only with their voices but with their COSTUME CHANGES!! Mandy G moved through FAB gowns ranging from fire engine red with big ruffles (Bobby's fave) to a sparkling silver shift and finally a blue sequinned evening number that showed her fine figure. Carrie M traded the taupe for a deep wine-colored "wavey" chiffon and then a white formal evening gown all with beautiful accessories... and they also sang too... OMG did they sing. As mentioned before, Carrie Manolakos killed on the Dolly Parton penned Whitey anthem but Mandy Gonzales also had her shining moment when, after filling the audience in on her bout with breast cancer, (we're all there for you Mandy!) she tugged our hearts out of our chests with MY HEART WILL GO ON, bringing as many tears as applause out of all of us. Carrie also gave us a special gift of her own in the form of her composition, THE NOTHING, for which she accompanied herself on the piano, getting to make her Carnegie Hall debut a full 360-degree musical experience - and what an experience for us who joyfully listened to this young singer/songwriter fill that old hall with her beautiful heart.
In wanting to salute the power of the female voice while including Newell (who's press and intros on the night indicate He/Him/His pronouns), the uber handsome Maestro Reinecke told the crowd that he called upon his equally handsome husband, Eric Gabbard, to program the evening OF Divas FOR Divas which Reinecke then skillfully (as always) conducted arrangements (by himself and others) of tunes penned by the likes of Adele, the Gershwins, Gloria Estefan, and Krieger & Eyen. Sending his Valentines love out to Eric, who was in attendance, the whole evening wrapped the audience up in the warm, INCLUSIVE blanket of music by The Pops playing at the top of their form and making a celebration of LOVE for all music Lovers and for that - for that is enough - Bobby gives I'M EVERY WOMAN: DIVAS ON STAGE a full 5 Out Of 5 Rainbows.
Tweet The Divas On Their Twitters:
Follow Each On Their Insta's:
And Find out about all things New York Pops: HERE
Photo Credit: Genevieve Rafter-Keddy