Review: EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE at Ray Of Light Theatre

What did our critic think of EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE at Ray Of Light Theatre?

By: Jun. 03, 2024
Review: EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE at Ray Of Light Theatre
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Who doesn’t like a good coming of age story, better yet a LGBTQ coming out story to boot? Mix a catchy pop/rock score, a delightfully innocent 16-year-old schoolboy, and some fabulous drag, and you have the makings of a hit show tailor-made for San Francisco’s audiences. Based on a true story and the 2011 documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, this fictional musical follows Jaime New as he battles homophobia and prejudice to self-actualize into a fierce drag queen.

Review: EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE at Ray Of Light Theatre

Romelo Urbi (“Larry: The Musical") stars as Jamie, full of determination and an increasing self-assurance. Urbi wears his heart on his sleeve, sings up a storm and imbues his character with a sweetness that makes it easy to root for his ultimate victory. On his way to achieving his goal, we meet his enemies: his absent, homophobic father (Chris Sotelo) who abandons the family rather than have a sissy son and the high school bully Dean  (Tucker Gold), who’s both anti-gay and anti-Muslim.

Review: EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE at Ray Of Light Theatre
Romelo Urbio (Jamie), Anne Elizabeth Clark (Margaret) and Jill Slyter as Ray.

Ray of Light, known for their impeccable staging, doesn’t skimp on the technical aspects of the show: Matt Owens bright modern set design, Daniel Harvey’s costumes, Weili Shi’s lighting, Alex Rodriguez’s choreography and Erik Scanlon’s video designs. Jad Bernardo oversees music direction and conducts a solid seven-piece band. Alex Kirschner returns to Ray of Light to direct with a sure hand for musicals.

Review: EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE at Ray Of Light Theatre
Romelo Urbi as Jamie and Madelyn Davis-Haddad as Pritti.

There are some good songs throughout, written by Dan Gillespie Sells, best known as the lead vocalist and frontman for the rock group The Feeling and Tom MacRae, English television writer, author, playwright, lyricist, television producer, and screenwriter. Standouts are Jamie’s plaintive “The Wall in My Head,” “If I Met Myself Again” sung by Jaime’s supportive mom, "The Legend of Loco Chanelle (and the Blood Red Dress)" sung by Jamie’s mentor Hugo, and "It Means Beautiful" performed by Jamie’s best friend Pritti.

Review: EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE at Ray Of Light Theatre
Romelo Urbi (Jamie) and Katya Smirnoff-Skyy, aka J. Conrad Frank  (Loco Chanelle).

The show is elevated by some fine supporting performances: Anne Elizabeth Clark shines as Jamie’s mom Margaret, Katya Smirnoff Skyy playing drag legend Loco Chanelle, Jill Slyter as family supporter Ray and Madelyn Davis-Haddad as Pritti. The ensemble cast dances up a storm. The character development doesn’t get too deep, the bullies are one dimensional – easier to boo. We’re meant to empathize with Jaime, and by rooting for him we support any LGBTQ youth in their search for connection and acceptance.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie continues through June 23rd. Tickets available at  https://www.eventbrite.com/cc/everybodys-talking-about-jamie-3042949

Photo credit: Jon Bauer




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