BWW Reviews: PHANTOM’S LEADING LADIES Unmask Harmonies At The Annenberg Theater
Phantom Of The Opera, Palm Springs, Annenberg Theater, Phantom's Leading Ladies
Past Articles by This Author:
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Phantom's Leading Ladies, a trio of Broadway veterans who have all performed the role of "Christine Daae" from The Phantom of the Opera brought an eclectic evening of music and mostly glorious three-part harmonies to The Annenberg Theater on April 14. The women that comprise The Phantom's Leading Ladies -- Teri Bibb, Karen Culliver and Mary D'Arcy -- have collectively performed more than 4,000 performances of Broadway's longest running musical and have played opposite 32 different Phantoms – on Broadway, on national tours and in Canada.
Let's start with the venue!! The Annenberg Theatre is a 433-seat state of the Art Theatre uniquely located within The Palm Springs Art Museum. It is truly a jewel box and perfectly suited for intimate musical theatre and cabaret. The sound was stellar! The lighting, though very simple, was the perfect compliment to the feel of the show. There was no program credit given to any designer or engineer but, whomever they are, they deserve kudos for artistic quality!
Accompanied by a rhythm section (Mary Ekler; Piano – Jim McClarty-Drums – Kirk Smith-Bass) the Ladies began offstage --- their crystal clear harmonies singing "Optimistic Voices" from The Wizard of Oz , setting the stage for what promised to be an evening of first class musical entertainment. It was – for the most part. The show was uneven and inconsistent. The vocals went from pristine to pitchy and back again. The staging went from very effective to over-choreographed to corny and back again. I am not sure if the ladies are "self-directed" – there was no program credit or mention of a director – but their show could use the keen eye and judicial editing of a solid director.
Teri Bibb was the star of the evening and pretty much flawless. Her voice is golden. Her stage presence is engaging at every turn. Her solo turns of "Tonight" and "Now" were show highlights. Mary D'Arcy was at her best with her performance of "Till There Was You" and not so successful with "Defying Gravity" which seemed both out of her range and out of her character. Karen Culliver (the show's "comedienne", delivering most of the mediocre "punchlines") was the weakest of the three --- both of her solo turns, "I Can Cook Too" and "Old Devil Moon" showcased her as more of a very talented community theatre singer-actress and not the performer with all of the professional credits listed in her resume. To be fair, I wondered more than once if she was just not "in voice" or was under the weather that evening and, if that was the case, she was a real trouper.
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David Green is the Executive Director of The Carol Channing-Harry Kullijian Foundation for the Arts -- working to restore the Arts to our nation���s public schools and provide an arts education to every child in America. He is the founder and President of the nationally acclaimed Conservatory Musical Theatre University, a training ground for talented young people with aspirations for careers in theatre, most specifically musical theatre. Mr. Green's Broadway alumni include Tony -nominee Matthew Morrison, Stephanie Block, Lindsay Mendez, Scott Barnhardt, Anneliese VanDerPol and Krysta Rodriguez, to name a few. As a producer and director, he has staged over 150 theatrical productions for both educational and professional theatre and with such stars as Carol Channing, Cathy Rigby, Jonelle Allen, Eric Kunze, Davis Gaines, Stephanie Zimbalist, John Raitt, Betty Garrett and more. Mr. Green is honored to serve the Inland Empire of Southern California as a contributor to BroadwayWorld. |
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