Sometimes rewrites are not such a good idea. In “This One Girl’s Story” a new musical which is part of NYMF’s eighth season the creators – Dionne McClain-Freeney -(music and lyrics) and Bil Wright (book and additional lyrics) have reworked, rearranged and re thought their original work which was part of GAYFEST NYC 2010.
A production that I thought had great potential and that hit home the rampant bigotry that the gay community often is a target of. In this case four lesbians who travel from Newark to New York’s Greenwich Village to celebrate their imagined freedom but run into hatred and murder (Mick – Antonio Edwards Suarez) when they return home in the wee hours of the morning.
It’s hard not to compare the two versions of the show but I feel that I have to review what I saw yesterday at The McGinn/Cazale Theatre (Broadway & 76 St. – 4th floor) where the show is now playing and the elevator was not working.
New director, new cast (with one exception) new choreographer and design team. The results are mixed. The cast is exceptional.
Patrice (Zonya Love Johnson) has been suspended from school for defending herself against being bullied by a couple of guys that call her “Mr. Freak”. Her mother has also thrown her out calling her “an embarrassment”.
Off she goes to cousin Cee-Cee (Angela Grovey- Oprah with vocal prowess) to crash. Cee-Cee takes her in but is having her own “love-life” problems with her ex girl friend Dessa (Danielle K. Thomas). The first three numbers of the show are powerful show stoppers – “Liberation Party”, “Into the World” and “Anything”.
But then the story detours and becomes a story about Cee-Cee and Dessa – Patrice’s troubles taking a more than momentary back seat (whose story is it anyway?) as Lourdes (Desiree Rodriguez the sole survivor from GAYFEST) invites Dessa to reconcile with Cee-Cee before they all trek off to Greenwich Village where Patrice meets up with a cougar named Promise (Jade Hicks) who tries to seduce the underage, naïve but boastful Patrice in “Closer” – a song that I loved first time around but instinctively feel that it’s been changed somehow.
There are new characters but less people playing them. The musical styles vary from rap to hip hop to Latino to show-stopping. But what was once a tragic story told within the context of a trail of the man accused of killing Cee-Cee seen through the eyes of Patrice has been watered down to make more of the relationship between the two women – with a beautiful duet “Imperfect Me” still extremely moving in its simplicity.
Direction by Jeremy Dobrish doesn’t help clarify some of the flaws that still exist in the book that has lost its original emotional wallop and trajectory.
But oh those wonderful women! Better singers you will not find. They bring soul power, and heart, and fantastic vocal power to their characters. www.nymf.org
Link to original review: http://talkentertainment.com/TalkBack.aspx?art=19216
CORRECTION: Zonya Love Johnson who is Patrice, played Dessa in the GAYFEST production.
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