Arts-Louisville Reviews
News, Reviews and Interviews


Performing Arts

July 18, 2017
 

Songs Of Women

Lauren McCombs & Erin Jump from Still I Rise! Photo by Erin Jump.

 

Still I Rise!: A Cabaret of Songs by the Women of Broadway

Curated/Directed by Michael Drury

Review by Annette Skaggs

Entire contents are copyright © 2017 Annette Skaggs. All rights reserved.

It is hard to believe that the Looking for Lilith Theater Company has been in the Louisville community for 15 years now. In celebration of this milestone, the company is presenting a wide range of fare for our eyes and ears for two weekends. Luckily my esteemed colleagues will be covering some of these other shows, but I got the lucky draw with Still I Rise!: A Cabaret of Songs by the Women of Broadway.

Pandora Productions, and its incredibly knowledgeable helmsman, Michael Drury, was able to come up with a nice departure from the usual staged fare and delighted audiences with an intimate showcase of some of Broadway’s well-known verses – and some that have been forgotten, but all written by women.

The cast featured some of the areas oft seen/heard performers Lauren McCombs, Erin Jump, Katelyn Webb, and Mandi Elkins Hutchins. We were also introduced to a newcomer on the scene: Jill Marie Schierbaum. Front and center of this talented group was Louisville’s own legend, Gayle King, who provided accompaniment and vocals.

Did you know that Mary Rogers, the composer to the Broadway shows The Hot Spot and Once Upon a Mattress, is daughter to Richard Rodgers of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame? Have you heard of Jeanine Tesori? No? Well, if you are a patron of Broadway and beyond, I bet you have. She has composed for some of Broadway’s most recent successes: Fun Home, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Shrek the Musical, and much more. This is a sample of the kind of music featured in this revue.

The evening began with Ms. King singing “Still I Rise” from Carmel’s Candy Store by Carmel Dean. While I am not familiar with this show, I was certainly familiar with the lyrics, derived from the late, great poet Maya Angelou. This choice of song was a powerful beginning to the evening’s entertainment.

Throughout the performance, the various songs were grouped together to form a story. To my chagrin, it took me a little while to put the narrative together, partially because I was placing my focus on technical emphasis, but when I talked with Mr. Drury and I sat back and contemplated on the evening, clearing the headspace of distractions, the arc was cleverly formed and well devised for the Festival.

As you can probably guess from the title of the show, many of the songs focus on female empowerment, but, if you look closer, it goes deeper. Yes, there is empowerment, but there is also laughter, pride, fright, lust, tragedy, and ownership of one’s own self.

Katelyn Webb’s take on Cyndi Lauper’s “History of Wrong Guys”, from Kinky Boots was delightful. While Lauren McComb did a great job with the syncopation that can be troubling in “I Didn’t Plan It”, from Sara Bareilles’ Waitress, she had a hard time with notes that were out of her range. Unfortunately, Ms. McComb was not the only soloist that had this issue throughout the evening. But we singers run into that often and we push on best we can.

Despite feeling a bit rushed in some spots, Erin Jump had me feeling all kinds of emotions with “The Baby Song”, from Georgia Stritt’s The Danger Year. While I was not familiar with any of Mandi Elkins Hutchins’ works before, I can say I look forward to any others now after hearing her interpretation of “Happily Ever After” from Once Upon a Mattress.

Gayle King was certainly the glue that helped to keep the show together with her accompaniment and ability to guide some of the more “lost” moments, keeping her and her gals cool when the music may go off the rails a little bit. Her “As We Stumble Along”, from Lisa Lambert’s The Drowsy Chaperone was charming.

The overall story arc of the evening could have been focused on any one of these women, but overall I have to say that it centered on Jill Marie Schierbaum. From what I understand, Ms. Schierbaum has not performed as a singer, at least not with Pandora. I will say that she started off quite shaky, having to rely on Ms. King often for guidance to find her footing again, but here’s the good news: every time she came up to do a solo, she got better. Her confidence seemed to grow with every phrase of her last solo of the evening: Dolly Parton’s “I Just Might”, from 9 to 5. I hope to hear/see you grow as a performer.

Thank you, Michael Drury, for your hard work in curating this massive amount of music by women and working with a dynamic set of ladies who want to tell their stories and share the complexities and accomplishments of women. I truly look forward to the next set of Broadway tunes for rounds 2, 3, 4, or even 5 of this Cabaret.

Bravi Tutti!

Still I Rise!: A Cabaret of Songs by the Women of Broadway

Part of Unheard (outloud): Looking for Lilith’s 15th Anniversary Festival

Clifton Center
1124 Payne Street
Louisville, KY 40205

PRODUCTIONS:

STILL I RISE!
Celebrating Women Lyricists And Composers Of Broadway
Pandora Productions
7/14 – 10:00pm | 7/15 – 10:00pm | 7/17 – 9:30pm | 7/22 – 10:00pm
Reception Hall

LOOK ME IN THE EYE
A Satirical Exploration Of Issues Of Consent
Resonant Light Theatre Project
7/16 – 5:30pm | 7/17 – 7:00pm | 7/19 – 7:00pm | 7/21 – 9:30pm
Eifler Theatre

I’M WEARING MY OWN CLOTHES!
Civil War Dr. Mary Walker’s Inspiring Quest To Be True To Herself
By Nancy Gall-Clayton
Looking For Lilith Theatre Company
7/14 – 8:00pm | 7/16 – 3:00pm | 7/20 – 7:30pm | 7/23 – 3:00pm
Eifler Theatre

CROSSING MOUNTAINS

The Making Of Hindman Settlement School
Looking For Lilith Theatre Company
7/13 – 8:00pm | 7/15 – 3:00pm | 7/22 – 3:00pm | 7/23 – 6:00pm
Eifler Theatre

DEFINING INFINITY
Exploring The Spectrums Of Gender And Sexual Orientation
Looking For Lilith Theatre Company
7/19 – 8:00pm | 7/21 – 8:30pm | 7/23 – 4:30pm
Reception Hall

LOST & FOUND
Adanma Onyedike Burton
One Woman’s Experience Of Navigating The Social Taboo Of Miscarriages
7/17 – 8:30pm | 7/19 – 9:00pm | 7/21 – 7:30pm
Eifler Theatre

___________________________

STAGED READINGS

MOLLY DRIVEN
By Haydee Canovas
Lifting The Veil On The Cost Of Human Trafficking In Louisville
7/13 – 7:00pm
Adelberg Room

#Whathappenedtodavid
Julie Investigates The Death Of An African American Student
By Terkeisha Tyler
7/20 – 8:00pm
Adelberg Room

____________________________

WORKSHOPS

HISTORIAS DE INMIGRANTES LATINAS
(Latina Immigrants’ Stories)
Play Reading & Discussion By EACM Women’s Group And LFL
7/14 – 6:00pm
Reception Hall

KIDZPLAY
Participatory Drama Workshop By LFL For Children 4-8 & Their Parents
7/15 – 10:00am | 7/18 – 10:00am | 7/22 – 1:00pm
Adelberg Room

RACIAL JUSTICE
Led By Louisville Showing Up For Racial Justice And LFL
7/15 – 12:00pm
Adelberg Room

THEATRE OF THE OPPRESSED 101
Workshop For Both Beginners And Those With TOTO Techniques, LFL
7/16 – 2:00pm
Adelberg Room

GENDER & SEXUALITY DIVERSITY 101
Exploring Spectrums W/TSTAR (Trans & Sexuality Teaching, Advocacy And Research)
7/21 – 9:30pm
Reception Hall

INTRO TO DEVISING
Creating A Collaborative Response To The Current U.S. Climate, LFL
7/18 – 7:00pm
Eifler Theatre

GIRLSPEAK
Public Sharing Of LFL’s Summer Drama Camp
7/20 – 6:00pm
Reception Hall

____________________________

FESTIVAL PASSES
UNHEARD [Outloud] Festival Passes Include Admission To ALL Festival Events, July 13-23 (6 Productions, 2 Staged Readings, And A Variety Of Workshops). Lookingforlilith.Org/Unheardoutloud

SINGLE TICKETS
Tickets May Be Purchased Online (Lookingforlilith.Org/Unheardoutloud) Or At The Door. Please Call For Group Rates.
PRODUCTIONS: $20 | $15 – Students/Seniors
STAGED READINGS: $10
WORKSHOPS: PAY WHAT YOU CAN!

 

AnnetteAnnette Skaggs is heavily involved as an Arts Advocate here in Louisville. She is a freelance professional opera singer who has performed throughout Europe and in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Boulder, Little Rock, Peoria, Chicago, New York and of course Louisville. Aside from her singing career, she has been a production assistant for Kentucky Opera, New York City Opera, and Northwestern University. Her knowledge and expertise have developed over the course of 25+ years’ experience in the classical arts.





Fifth Third Bank Kentucky One Health Hilliard Lyons Brown Forman Aesthetics in Jewelry Louisville Marriott