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This, everyone soon learns, is a typical rehearsal room, dressing room — and overnight accommodations — for black performers who venture into the South during the turbulent era of the 1940s – and beyond. But while Sister Rosetta Tharpe is no longer bothered by such surroundings, it’s a chilling wake-up call for the young singer named Marie Knight who she has invited to join her to sing together for that night’s appearance and, potentially future joint collaborations. But things get off to a rocky start when the unflappable, hip-swirling, guitar-playing Sister Rosetta tries to get some of the starch out of her uptight, inexperienced young vocalist how pointe shoes work uk sale. Rosetta’s as likely to belt out the spiritual “This Train” and the unsophisticated “Sit Down (You’re Rockin’ the Boat)” as she is to sing a purely Gospel tune. But Marie only sings church hymnals like “Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)” and finds some of Rosetta’s onstage antics distasteful..
Obviously, it’s going to take awhile for this twosome to work out their musical (and life experience) differences and sing duets together how pointe shoes work uk sale. That’s pretty much the gist of this slight, but affecting story, although the last 20 minutes or so is sobering and, unfortunately, not nearly as rewarding. The 90-plus minute production is performed without an intermission to preserve the vibrancy and intensity of Brant’s creation. But what it lacks is a rousing finale – no matter that it didn’t fit the narrative — that would send theatergoers into the lobby snapping their fingers and dancing a little boogie all the way to their cars..
This production is lovingly guided by retiring artistic director Robert Kelley. He points out in his program notes that TheatreWorks has been combining the two art forms of music and drama since its inception in 1970 with the musical, “Popcorn” to its highly successful, Tony Award-winning production of “Memphis.”. So, while Brandt’s storyline isn’t all that compelling, the two performers in it, Michelle E. Jordan as Sister Rosetta and Marissa Rudd as Marie, are how pointe shoes work uk sale. Jordan has all the swagger and chutzpah of Rosetta, so it’s a hoot watching her prance around the stage whopping and vocalizing, all the while strumming both a regular, later an electric, guitar like a Jimi Hendrix or a Chuck Berry..
It’s important to give recognition to the two musicians – TheatreWorks’ musical director William Liberatore and Schuyler McFadden — who actually play both the piano and guitar (sight unseen) for the two women who mime as if they are the accomplished musicians how pointe shoes work uk sale. But they certainly do all the singing, and, although Jordan’s vocals aren’t quite as powerful and imposing as Rosetta’s were, she makes us believers. Rudd’s Marie is a little less believable, probably because she doesn’t easily pull off the transformation from that uptight choir soloist to down-and-dirty Gospel. It’s more herky-jerky so that it looks as if Rudd, the actress, is changing rather than Marie, the churchwoman. Yet Rudd’s voice, clearly the more classically trained, is always lovely..
But it all comes together when they sing duets like “Didn’t It Rain” and “Up Above My Head,” as well as the earthy “Tall Skinny Papa” and “Four Five Times.”. One of the most endearing parts of the production is when Sister Rosetta is asking Marie to sing a song for her as a way to see whether the two can actually perform together. Rosetta stops her mid-song and says, “That vibrator! I don’t like the vibrator!” Marie is visibly shaken until she realizes Rosetta is talking about her vibrato how pointe shoes work uk sale.