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Here's what I've enjoyed seeing or reading so far...hope you enjoy them as well!

      

 

Entries in LaQuet Sharnell (4)

Wednesday
Aug222012

All Shook Up: Can't Help Falling In Love

Cast of "All Shook Up" at North Shore Music Theatre, Photo Credit: Paul LydenThe advantage to having a show on Broadway is that after it closes, it can enjoy a new life in regional theatres around the country. One of my favorite Broadway shows, "All Shook Up" is currently enjoying a resurrection at North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA.

On Saturday, August 18, I was thrilled to be able to enjoy this show once again! Written by Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro, and featuring 25 of Elvis Presley's greatest hits, "All Shook Up" tells the story of a hip swivelin’ roustabout who shakes things up when he comes to a small town under the rule of an ultra-conservative mayor.

This was my first time attending a show at North Shore Music Theatre and I hope it will not be my last! Their production of "All Shook Up" was two hours and forty minutes of laughter and delight! Starring Joyce DeWitt ("Janet" from "Three's Company") as "Mayor Matilda Hyde," and Broadway's very own Jannie Jones and LaQuet Sharnell as "Sylvia" and "Lorraine, Sylvia's Daughter," respectively, this talented cast really showed off their talents.

Joyce DeWitt as "Mayor Matilda Hyde" and Ryan Overberg as "Chad", Photo Credit: Paul LydenGrowing up watching "Three's Company" and having the fortunate experience of seeing Joyce DeWitt in the Off-Broadway comedy "Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage" in NYC, it was a real joy to finally get to see her in a musical! With stage presence and stellar acting, Joyce really held her own. I had never heard Joyce sing prior to seeing her in "All Shook Up," and I must say, I liked what I heard when she sang on "Devil in Disguise." As a big fan of the Broadway production, I did notice the song was slightly changed to fit Joyce's voice, but I felt that was very wise decision, because it allowed her to continue to shine! 

Eric Hatch as "Dean Hyde" and LaQuet Sharnell as "Lorraine", Photo Credit: Paul LydenI have seen LaQuet Sharnell perform on multiple occasions and I am constantly impressed and amazed with her vocal talent. Her acting and dance skills are strong, but it's her voice that takes makes her over the top! Her character "Lorraine," doesn't have any solo numbers, but she does have many solo moments within full cast songs. Just when I think I've heard LaQuet at her best, she somehow finds a way to surprise me, and make me that much more in awe of her talent! She really made herself take center stage when given the opportunity!

John Hillner as "Jim Haller" and Jannie Jones as "Sylvia", Photo Credit: Paul Lyden2001 was the last time I had seen Jannie Jones on stage. She was performing in the Broadway show "The Full Monty" and when I found out she was going to be "Sylvia" in this production of "All Shook Up," I was beyond excited! It was great to see Jannie in a featured role that allowed her to really showcase her powerhouse vocals! She triumphed with her big number "There's Always Me," receiving one of the biggest cheers and applause throughout the show.

Paul Sabala as "Dennis" and Dara Hartman as "Natalie Haller", Photo Credit: Paul LydenThere were several other members of the cast who left me wanting more! Dara Hartman hit all the right notes as leading lady "Natalie Haller." Coleen Sexton was perfectly cast as "Miss Sandra," in both vocal quality and desirability that is required for the role. Paul Sabala dominated the stage as "Dennis" every time he was on it! He has some of the best comedic acting talents I have seen in a while. He knows exactly how and when to get the laugh. Added to this, is an actor who has a wonderful singing voice, which was nicely displayed on "It Hurts Me." In the role of "Dean Hyde, Matilda's son," Eric Hatch also captured my attention with his equally amazing singing and acting. Paired with LaQuet's "Lorraine," these two blended perfectly together on "It's Now or Never" and "If I Can Dream." Leading this cast was Ryan Overberg, as "Chad," the hip-swivelin' roustabout who won me over with his good looks and acting chops. While Ryan did shine on a few songs throughout the show, I was personally a little disappointed with his voice. He definitely had the looks and charisma to be "Chad," but I just didn't feel he was strong enough vocally to make me fully believe him as "Chad." I thought as a whole, the ensemble did a great job supporting this cast. I hope one day to be able to say I saw them when as they are cast in a featured or starring role.

Coleen Sexton as "Miss Sandra" and cast, Photo Credit: Paul LydenRyan Overberg as "Chad", Photo Credit: Paul LydenIn addition to the cast, I felt the staging of "All Shook Up" was very creative and skillfully planned. Walking into North Shore Music Theatre, I was greeted with circle in the round stage. With my fond memories of the Broadway production, I was a bit apprehensive of how this kind of staging would work, but it actually worked out very well! Bringing most of the set out from underneath the stage and a few pieces down the aisles, scenic Designer Bert Scott, Director Russell Garrett, and Stage Managers John Godbout and Natalie A. Lynch should be commended utilizing their space so strategically!

The best part about seeing live theatre is the fact that it's in live and whatever happens happens and there are no re-takes. A truly special moment happened at this particular performance of "All Shook Up." There is a moment in the show where "Mayor Matlida Hyde" gets kissed. Well, the kiss that was planted on Joyce DeWitt at Saturday's matinee must have been an extra powerful one because when she finished, her wig had fallen off. The audience cheered, hollered, and applauded at this moment and Joyce and the rest cast burst into laughter, while trying to remain in character. Like a real trooper, Joyce played up this very small snafu for the remainder of the show! I feel that is a true testament to the kind of professionalism that Joyce puts out there. This was a great moment for everyone, especially for this cast of young actors. They were able to get a first-hand account of what a successful, seasoned professional actress does when a costume slightly malfunctions. Bravo to Joyce and the whole cast for allowing us get a true theatrical experience!

North Shore Music Theatre's production of "All Shook Up" runs through this Sunday, August 26! So, "C'mon Everybody" and click here to purchase your tickets!

For more on North Shore Music Theatre be sure to visit http://www.nsmt.org and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

Wednesday
Mar072012

UnsungMusicalCo. Inc. Make Mine Manhattan

Make Mine Manhattan Cast, Photo Credit: Dixie SheridanOn Wednesday, March 7, 2012, I attended UnsungMusicalCo. Inc's production of the 1948 hit revue "Make Mine Manhattan," with lyrics by Arnold B. Horwitt and music by Richard Lewine. Playing at the Connelly Theatre in NYC, "Make Mine Manhattan" stars Nicolas Dromard, Nadine Isenegger, Dennis O'Bannion, Greg Reuter, Gabrielle Ruiz, LaQuet Sharnell, Bret Shuford, and Kristen J. Smith.

"Make Mine Manhattan" tells the stories of New York City, from from those who live here to those who visit. From the exciting world of entertainment to the never-ending story of finding and losing love, "Make Mine Manhattan" has a song to convey the moment.

LaQuet Sharnell in Make Mine Manhattan, Photo Credit: Dixie SheridanThe cast does a good job, but the one who shined the most, was my girl LaQuet Sharnell! She really knows how to take a song and run with it and tonight was no expection! LaQuet had three solos in the show and each one was better than the one before! LaQuet's voice is a gift for all to hear and she is a singer who knows how to use her gift really well!

This is the second production I've seen from UnsungMusicalCo. Inc. and I have to say I really admire what they do. They are a not-for-profit production company whose mission is to preserve musical theatre through the restoration and presentation of osbscure but artisically sound works. They take chances and that alone is why we should support them!

Whether you are a visitor to New York City or a resident, if you are looking for a fun, forget your troubles night out, I would suggest checking out "Make Mine Manhattan" at The Connelly Theatre (220 East 4th Street, between Avenue A & B) through March 17. Click here for tickets!

Wednesday
Dec142011

Lysistrata Jones: Slam Dunk!

Cast of "Lysistrata Jones"After a very successful sold-out run this past summer Off-Broadway, "Lysistrata Jones" has made the leap to Broadway and let me say, it's a slam dunk! On Saturday, December 10, 2011, I once again took in this really fun, energetic, and upbeat show about a college university basketball team who has not won a basketball game in 30 years. In an effort to help the team win a game, "Lysistrata Jones," convinces her girl posse to stop "giving it up" to their basketball boyfriends until they win! The way this plan is executed and the way boys react was hilariously played out by a very talented cast!

Keeping the original Off-Broadway cast in tact was a brilliant idea because the chemistry of this cast is magnetic! While I liked the staging Off-Broadway better, the heart, soul, and message of the show are just as powerful as before, if not more! The show still reminded me to never give up my dreams, no matter how much of an outcast it might make me. As long as I believe in myself, then eventually everything will fall into place. 

The girls of "Lysistrata Jones"Patti Murin and Jason Tam in "Lysistrata Jones"Once again, Patti Murin lead this wonderful cast in the role of "Lysistrata Jones." Patti's spirit, energy, and talent really shined throughout the whole show, especially during "Where Am I Now," Patti's voice was golden! Joining Patti in the spotlight were Lindsay Nicole-Chambers, LaQuet Sharnell, Katie Boren, Kat Nejat, and Liz Mikel. Each of these performers are stars! Lindsay, who plays book-worm "Robin," brought her phenominal comedic skills along with a beautiful singing voice. Everytime Lindsay was on stage, one thing happened, I laughed out loud, multiple times! When "Myrrhine," played by LaQuet Sharnell, sang, she engulfed, mesmerized, and grabbed your attention! LaQuet's soulfully powerful voice was always a delight to listen to, especially on "Don't Judge a Book!" She knows the meaning of control and when to let it out! When Liz Mikel, who played "Hetaira," took the stage, I was entranced by her booming vocals and comedic timing. Whether was a look or delivery, Liz kept a smile on my face. Katie Boren who played "Lampito," and Kat Nejat who played "Cleonice" rounded out the girls, each bringing their talented voices and good acting skills to the stage.

The Guys of "Lysistrata Jones"Josh Segarra and Patti Murin in "Lysistrata Jones"Leading the guys to victory was hunky Josh Segarra who's voice and acting skills were as smokin' as he was. Josh's vocals were most powerful on "When She Smiles," a beautiful love song about the girl his character, "Mick," really likes. Jason Tam, who plays "Xander," scored big with his impeccable dancing and vocals, especially on "Hold On." Jason's two big shining moments came when his character danced his way into the heart of our heroine "Lysistrata Jones." Rounding out the guys were Alexander Agular ("Uardo"), Ato Blankson-Wood ("Tyllis"), Teddy Toye ("Harold"), and Alex Wyse ("Cinesias"). Alex definitely lit up the stage with his talented rapping/rhyming. Alexander, Ato, and Teddy all added to the comedy, each with various shining moments.

With it's many relevant pop culture references, "Lysistrata Jones," scores big in laughter, song, and most of all talent! Playing at The Walter Kerr Theatre in NYC (219 West 48th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue), "Lysistrata Jones" adds much game to this feel good show! Click here for tickets!

Thursday
Jun092011

Lysistrata Jones

I recently saw the Transport Group's latest show, "Lysistrata Jones" at The Gym at Judson in NYC. If you are looking for a fun show with some extraordinary talent, then I would recommend "Lysistrata Jones." Adapted from Aristophanes' comedy, Lysistrata, with a book by Tony Nominee, Douglas Carter Beane and music/lyrics by Lewis Flinn, "Lysistrata Jones" takes you courtside with Lyssie and her girl-power posse who, in an effort to help The Athens University basketball team win a game for the first time in 30 years, decide to stop "giving-it-up" to their basketball boyfriends until they win a game. Does Lyssie's strategy work or just cause a lot of foul balls? "Lysistrata Jones" takes student activism to a whole new level and celebrates the journey of discovering and embracing who you truly are.

Each cast member brings their own power and greatness to this show. Patti Murin brings her spirit, spunk, and big vocals to the role of "Lysistrata Jones," especially on "Where Am I Now." Fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant LaQuet Sharnell who plays "Mhyrinne," brings her comedic and sultry talents along with her unforgettable powerhouse vocals, particularly on "Don't Judge A Book," whereas fellow participant Josh Segarra, "Mick," brings his humor, sexiness, and seductive vocals throughout, but most notably his voice shines on "When She Smiles," while fellow participant Jason Tam, "Xander," shows us what he's got with his superb dancing and vocals on "Hold On." Lindsay Nicole Chambers, "Robin," demonstrates her comedic genius, wit, and smartness along with her beautiful vocals. Katie Boren, "Lampito," can sing and when she does all eyes are upon her! I wish she had a full featured solo instead of a few solo's in the midst of a song. She would have lit the place on fire even more! Linking everything together with her humor and stupendously strong, controlled, and powerful vocals is Liz Mikel, "Hetaira." When Liz starts to sing, the audience not only takes notice, but is mesmerized! Liz sparkles on every song she sings, especially "Writing on The Wall."

My favorite moment comes in the final number, "Give It Up!" which is a fantastically awesome song about being yourself, remembering to do what you love with your life, and speak up for what you believe in! This high energy song is a terrific way to end such a fun show and has the potential to become a real hit and many people's personal anthem! I know it's already become mine!

So, if you are looking for a fun show with extraordinary talent, I suggest you treat yourself to the Transport Group's production of "Lysistrata Jones" which plays at The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street @ Washington Square South) through June 24! Click here for tickets!