BWW Review: GMCLA Knocks HE HAD IT COMING Out of the Park
On April 1 and 2 GMCLA presented its spring concert at the Alex Theatre in Glendale He Had It Coming, a compilation of Broadway tunes with special guest star Tony winner and Emmy nominated actor/singer Alan Cumming and a few magnificent surprises. Needless to say, the show was one of their longest, running almost two hours and a half including intermission, but was well worth it.
The chorus is famous for their variety of material and of course, their flambuoyant theatrics. They opened with "A Musical" from Something Rotten displaying the crazed backstage preparations for putting on a show. Other numbers from Act I included a lovely "Sunday" from Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George, Kander and Ebb's "Wilkommen" and "All That Jazz" combined, a beautiful arrangement of "Love to Me" from The Light in the Piazza and the equally lilting "Light" from Next to Normal. As you can see, ballads were mixed with big brassy songs, offering something for everyone's tastes. Tony winning star from the Roundabout revival of Cabaret Alan Cumming seduced us with "Mein Herr" using his totally unique and sexy, almost whispery vocal interpretation, then followed it with a belty "The Ladies Who Lunch" from Company. Cumming has a way about him like no other personality. He's one.of.a.kind funny and has a fun time onstage. You either like him or you don't. Gay audiences adore him for his endless charity work in the gay community and because of his daffy, surprising and bold demeanor in performance.
Two numbers in Act One which I thought did not come off as well as they could have were Elton John's "Electricity" from Billy Elliot - I find it better suited to one performer, like the kid playing Billy, who normally sings it rather than arranged for a whole chorus of voices - and "Cell Block Tango" - "He Had It Coming" from Chicago. So much activity was happening onstage in this Act I finale that the guys' individual performances got lost. Lots of big laughs didn't happen because the punch lines were not big and powerful enough. That's all right, though, as the overall act was a sensation, especially when one chorus member was pulled center stage and his fiance got down on his knees and proposed to him, putting an engagement ring on his finger. What an unexpectedly touching and lovely moment! This was Saturday night's performance. I don't know if they repeated it at the Sunday matinee, but I hope they did...it was so special and unforgettable.
Act Two was even better than Act One. Two numbers from The Book of Mormon opened the act...there's so much comedy written into those songs "Hello" and "Turn It Off" that nothing funny needed to follow but lo and behold "If You Were Gay" from Avenue Q did. That tune is another uproariously amusing one especially when sung by an entire chorus of gay men heard to say in unison ... "If I Were Gay ... but I'm not"... thunderous laughs from the audience! Cumming returned with two gorgeous songs one original by Emmy winning Lance Horne "Last Day on Earth" followed by William Finn's tearful "What More Can I Say?" from Falsettos. Then came an amusing "Sugar Daddy" from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a sweet "Hear My Song" from Jason Robert Brown's Songs For a New World ... and two very rousing Kinky Boots numbers "Not My Father's Son" featuring wonderful soloist Melvin Robert and "Raise You Up" with an equally talented Miles Jeffries. One big feature of Act II was the colorful dress of every single member of the chorus who were encouraged to go to extremes and indeed they did with hats, jewelry, t-shirts, scarves, boas and other wildly riveting apparel.
Thanks to artistic director/conductor Dr. Joseph P. Nadeau, choreographers Billy Rugh and Michelle Benton and to costume designer Philip Hayman for their invaluable contributions. Next up on July 8. the chorus travels downtown once again to the Walt Disney Concert Hall for a show filled with spirituality and optimism called I Rise. Go out and support the chorus who do fabulous work onstage ... and off .. in schools around the country, giving our gay teenagers the love and encouragement they so desperately need through music.