the next generation

Developed by Richard Hopkins & Jim Prosser
Book & Bridge Material by Larry Parr
Directed & Choreographed by Dennis Courtney
Florida Studio Theatre's Goldstein Cabaret
1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota, 941-366-9000
January 5 through March 26, 2011

Reviewed by Marie J. Kilker


Putting the "subtitle" in lower case seems terribly appropriate for a follow-up to FST's  Brassy Broads hit of a few years past. Though three gals accentuate the daring in the songs of divas like Sophie Tucker, Bette Midler, and Mae West, they lack the impact Kathy Hallenda had encompassing by herself the songs and styles of a range of classic "broads." The revue aims to pay tribute to those 20th century stars while bringing  Richard Hopkins' mix-in of "today's influence."  This appears to mean quickly turning from "gutsy" sexually related material  to pure (in both senses of the word) emotional reactions.
The main way this sequel distinguishes among the divas is to have them represented, usually in turn, by the three different singers:  small but spicy Sadrina Renee,  sophisticatedly sassy Natalie Renee, and broadly built, dramatic  Carly Sakolove.  That the first two are African-American  brings not only a modern touch to their performances but also shows how cross-cultural are the experiences  they sing of.  In purple flowing short gowns, smathered in rhinestones, they all sing and move well.  Carly Sakolove's highlights are two narratives. Jim Prosser at the piano boosts the gals' efforts and figures as a personnage in some of their numbers as well.
A revue that begins and ends with "Stuff Like That There" can't be all that brassy. None of the spoken comments make it so either. Brassy Broads: the next generation is simply 95 minutes (with a 15 minute intermission) of an anthology of entertainment by women.

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