Photo by Don Kellogg

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Fabulous Divas of Broadway

Alan Palmer: Performer, Author, Director - - what more could he do? Well, he was not the only man on stage. Aside from the audience members occasionally called up to play along, he did have an aptly skilled accompanist - Curtis Jerome. Everyone knows I am not a fan at all of "interactive" elements of shows. So the "Name that Diva" game show sketch didn't thrill me and the Mad-Libs routine required the audience to try and think about verbs and adjectives. As you could imagine, that was a rough spot (what is a verb, honey?). The limit to my interaction reached it's max with the totally terrific, truly amazing "Ring Them Bells" (thankfully from your seat) routine. (That's Liza Minnelli, of course).

It's not a drag show (although there's plenty of drag to go around). It's not diva impersonations, but rather diva impressions - - the impressions Alan claims these women all had on his life and career. He cycles through many. He seems to be a talented tenor, but he's by no means an expert on all of them and at time his voice seemed to agree - but he does leave you with a delightful taste of each of them.

The dresses and wigs really did the trick. With so many divas to cycle through, without such good costumes it might have been nothing more than a marginal attempt at the divas. Betty Buckley wins my best costume award. Was that really Carol Channing on stage "schinging"? Did Ethel Merman belt out a tune from the grave? Was Christine Ebersole really up there in her revolutionary costume of the day? And the list goes on and on. Huddled behind a small dressing screen on stage while he was changing each costume, he regaled us with a story that introduced the next diva. There were quite a few to visit, and thanks to his speed and enthusiasm, it didn't become the race against the clock it could have become.

Check out Alan Palmer on West 46th Street at the St. Luke's Theatre - pick your favorite diva from the gaggle.