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BWW Review: COLORED LIGHTS at Port-Royal Temple

Quadruple threat Dalia Constantin in a one-woman show

The unlikely proscenium of the Port-Royal Temple in the 13th arrondissement of Paris was chosen by quadruple threat Dalia Constantin to unveil her intimate autobiographical one-woman show, borrowing its title from a Liza Minnelli Song from The Rink by Kander and Ebb (1984). Taking us on an emotional roller coaster through her favorite songs and least favorite life moments, notably her recurrent drowning trauma, through texts by Flannan Obé and the expert hands of Sébastien Jaudon at the piano, Dalia opened her act with Gershwin's "Summertime" before venturing into lesser known material. Her rendition of "Don't Rain on My Parade" makes us wish she would someday be cast in Funny Girl, for not only does she conjure up a young Streisand vocally but also Fanny Brice physically!BWW Review: COLORED LIGHTS at Port-Royal Temple

Highlights were a virtuoso rendition of Sondheim's "Getting Married Today" from Company, appropriately taking place at the altar of the church, a very sexy "Hit Me with a Hot Note" form Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies, and a dynamic "I Got Rhythm" with tap choreography from her teacher Victor Cuno. The French subtitles for the songs, complemented by English subtitles for the French-spoken dialogue, allowed Dalia to explore some contemporary Broadway songs that are not easily accessible to the French, such as "Miss Byrd" from Maltby and Shire's Closer Than Ever and "Stars and the Moon" from Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World.

One can still notice, though, that the audience's reception was warmer to more familiar material, such as the West Side Story medley, which allowed Dalia to show off her piano playing talent as well, culminating in a gender-swapping version of "Something's Coming." The work of the late Sondheim, which Dalia already mastered when playing Cinderella in the last touring version of Into the Woods in 2019, was also represented by "The Girl from Ipanema" pastiche called "The Boy From" from The Mad Show and "Putting it Together" from Sunday in the Park with George, plus the appropriate lyrics of "Some People" from Gypsy, Dalia's final spirited anthem before her self-descriptive "Nobody Does it Like Me" from Cy Coleman's Seesaw. Her encore to "Over the Rainbow" brought her back to safer ground, but my favorite moment, apart from "Colored Lights," which ended the show and gave it its title, was another Kander and Ebb song also written for Liza called "Sorry I Asked," which perfectly illustrated Dalia's exploration of the difficulties of living through a relationship with a partner. 'Never be afraid to drown' is also a most personal and positive motto on the part Dalia, overcoming her childhood fears and adult anxieties through art, using performance as the perfect catharsis, as it should be!

The staging by Grégory Gerreboo, costumes by Mickael Komer, and visuals by Alina Constantin help enhance Dalia's terrific performance in less than easy venue! Having personally followed Dalia's journey through her first starring role in the duo touring show Bons baisers de Broadway, choreographed by Armelle Ferron, to her starring as Babe in the current tour of The Pajama Game, it was a pleasure to see her use all her acting, singing, dancing and piano playing talents in this intimate solo cabaret in the purest New York tradition. If you missed it, Dalia will repeat her act on March 20th and June 26th at the Port-Royal Temple.

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