Stagebeat

Respect: A Musical Journey of Women

Respect: A Musical Journey of Women is a high-energy, historical and hysterical look at women's changes from 1900 to today as illustrated by popular song. Dorothy Marcic (writer/ narrator), who wrote a book on the subject, constructed this piece around her own experiences. Slide pictures sometimes add to the message, as the ensemble shows how women have gone from, as Marcic puts it, "codependency to rebel to adult cynic to responsible adult," able to partner equally with men. With a bare-bones set and musical accompaniment from the upstairs band, these three women give it their all -- whether sharing how they want to be "Johnny's Girl" at a slumber party or stomping out how "These Boots Are Made for Walking." The shift goes from "Stand by Your Man" to "You Don't Own Me." Interacting with Marcic, the singers show how the times changed from Rosie Riveter to Rosie Homemaker to Rosie the CEO and how women have all too often depended on men. Jeanette Fitzpatrick shows it best with a hilarious rendition of "It Must Be Him" as she vows to die if her man doesn't call. Fitzpatrick to the stage is like a fish to water. In both acting and through song, she shows her mastery. Songs like "Take Another Piece of My Heart" show more of her grit. Emily Price is just as smooth and powerful vocally in everything from her cute Betty Boop to her dramatically sensual Lola. Paulette Dozier does a powerful piece as Rosa Parks and shows her stuff in "Hard Hearted Hannah," "I Will Survive," and "What's Love Got to Do with It." The focus becomes a bit scattered in the second act, but the nostalgic songs keep the show going, and the hilarious interpretations keep you laughing -- a worthwhile journey. (Through August 8 at the Cuillo Centre, 201 Clematis S., West Palm Beach, 561-835-9226.) -- Rachel Galvin

 
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