BWW Review: BROADWAY OUR WAY at Kalita Humphrey's Theater
1. Just the tips, just for a minute, just to see how it feels. After a sprightly opening group number, Tyler Jeffrey Adams, Rashaun Sibley, and Rhett Warner have the honor of starting the show off on a sexed up step with their rendition of Pump Boys and Dinettes' "Tips". I have not seen Pump Boys and Dinettes yet, but I guarantee this version is hotter. Just be sure to sit in row G directly in the eye line of this debonair trio--that bend and snap of the busboy kitchen towel is simply too much.
2. Feleceia Benton. This girl may boast the most incredible pipes in Dallas. Her number "Slide Some Oil To Me" from The Wiz would have melted the Tin Man. One should also note her wardrobe for the entire evening was fantastically on point.
3. Country musical singers? Although it was Texas Independence day for BWOW's opening night, I'm not typically a country music fan. However, Brett Warner may have turned me as she claimed to have nearly turned Dolly Parton in "The Night Dolly Parton Was Almost Mine" [Pump Boys and Dinettes]. Her twang and belt, matched with some cleverly placed props, will have you wanting more from this boot scootin' babe.
Janelle lutz similarly wowed by performing a rocker styled "Mona" [Pump Boys and Dinettes]. With her signature faux hawk hair, and a hint at a red bustier, "Mona" showcased an excitingly sultrier side of Ms. Lutz than we are used to seeing on the Players' stages. It was absolutely thrilling to see both divas slaying songs that wouldn't typically fall in their wheelhouse!
4. Walter Lee sangin. Performing "Random Black Girl" from Homemade Fusion proved one thing: this kid has chops. Not only was his voice as flawless as his complexion, but his comedic timing was what really brought down the house. Arguably one of the most memorable performances of the night.
5. Celebrity appearances! It is not in my policy to spoil surprises, so I hesitate to over share. All I can say is you can't stop Liza Minelli (BJ Cleveland) and Judy Garland (Janelle lutz) from stealing the show with their mother/daughter duet. This is the number you've always dreamed about.
6. Peter DiCesare bringing the house down with "The Life I Never Led" from Sister Act. A solid, well-sung performance from this sweet actor.
7. The tender moments. Throughout the evening there was an underlying current of love, whether it be a caress of the cheek, or being hog-tied over the back of a mechanical bull, all types of love are accepted and displayed on this stage. Notable numbers include Kyle Igneczi's "She Used to Be Mine" [Waitress], Wendy Welch's "Shouldn't I Be Less in Love with You?" [I Love You, Your Perfect, Now Change], and Laura Lites' "She Was There" [Scarlett Pimpernel].
8. Uptown Dallas' Favorite Things. Taking a stab at the Real Housewives of Everywhere, Coy Covington and BJ Cleveland mutilate "My Favorite Things" [Sound of Music] into one of the raunchiest, funniest spoofs to date. I felt like I was in the North Park mall food court, substituting tic tacs an Grey Goose for lunch, and it was deliciously sinful.
9. The church lady's commitments to deep, long, firm love. Paul J. Williams' Southern Baptist, southern fried alter ego, Sister Helen Holy, stopped the show with her outraged evangelical ministry. Teaching the young, hell-bound, Catholic schoolgirls a thing or two about Christ's unending mercy with "Deep Love" from Young Frankenstein had the audience shrieking with laughter.
10. Fundraising! This show is a great way to bring the community together to contribute to the fine arts in Dallas. According to their calculations, only about 65% of the monetary support for Uptown Players comes from ticket sales. The gap is filled by individual donors. So during the performance this weekend they will have a silent auction, raffles, donations, and volunteer sign ups to help support this beautiful program. Director BJ Cleveland encouraged the audience to support the arts, "Go out and sing a little show tune." After this raucous adventure of a night, you are sure to have a little more pep in your step.
Broadway Our Way runs only March 2-5 at the Kalita Humphrey's Theater. 214-219-2718 or uptownplayers.org for ticket information.