All ages, all shapes and sizes – twinkies, daddies, drag queens, a financier (more on him later), lovers, those looking for lovers, those just looking for a good time – some straight, some of the opposite sex – each and every one welcomed to this wonderful extended family, attended the sold out performance of the New York Gay Men’s Chorus Concert, the BIG GAY SING – “a sing along extravaganza”, Friday evening at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. And what an extravaganza it was. Everyone had a blast. This was one hell of an entertaining concert which is not to be missed next time ‘round.
The chorus is 200 members strong. The sound is spectacular. The choice of songs, a musical comedy queen’s nirvana – “Maybe This Time” featuring Sonelius Kendrick-Smith, “Don’t Rain On My Parade” with Angelo Cilia and “Time Heals Everything” soloist Michael Morisi. The special arrangements proved powerful and moving.
Musical director, Dr. Charles Beale runs a tight ship. The singers have every song down pat. And that goes for their hand and head coordinated movements as well. The opening of Act II- “Carmina Burana: O Fortuna was particularly stirring.
Comedian and celebrity interviewer Scott Nevins hosted. He is extremely funny. He kept the show light and moving right along with his stories of Liza Minnelli, his growing up in Flushing and his love of all things well, gay. Holly Faris as Joan Rivers did red carpet duty – dishing and greeting various luminaries upon entering. Tom McGillis did a masterful job as Sign Language Interpreter.
Guest artist was the original Annie, Andrea McCardle, who came on wearing a pair of show stopping shoes that ice skater from the past, Sonja Henie “Queen of the Ice” would have lusted after. Andrea wowed the audience with “Some People” from Gypsy and later on with her signature number, “Tomorrow”.
There were mini production numbers. Fabulous costumes. Some well placed choreography. A terrific band. An over the top tribute to Madonna and Judy, Patron Saint of Dorothy’s friends worldwide. It doesn’t get much better than having Eugene Lovendusky, sitting on the apron of the stage ala Garland, singing “Over the Rainbow” with the original film clip projected on the screen behind the band and the full chorus joining in. An MGM Wow! Moment.
For some numbers the lyrics were clearly projected for the “sing along songs” so that we could all vent our inner Judy, Barbra, Beyonce and Tammy Wynette.
Now, the financier. He was chosen during Act I with the blessing of his wife to appear in Act II, in a segment featuring a song from Grease with a woman also chosen at random. When they arrived dressed as Sandy and Danny it was a role reversal extraordinaire. He was in a pink poodle skirt and loving every minute of it. His wife was hysterical as was the entire crowd. All in good fun, it was the comedy hit of the evening.
One of the main issues that the chorus would like to address is “fighting homophobia through song”. This was done brilliantly by bringing up was the ban on same sex marriage in California – the Vote No on Proposition 8 bill – with a wonderful rendition of “Old Fashioned Wedding” sung by Dan Baillie and Jason B. Schmidt and then segueing into “I’m Not Getting Married” and then announcing the engagement of two chorus members.
Everything about the evening was a class act. Funny and entertaining more than you can imagine. Right down to the curtain call, “I’m Coming Out”. I hope that the next concert will have a longer run. But for that, they’ll need our support.