'Scandalous'-- real life can be as entertaining as fiction!
LINDA ARMSTRONG Special to the AmNews | 11/19/2012, 3:59 p.m.
"Scandalous" is a sizzling sensation! This musical gloriously brings to life the real story of Aimee Semple McPherson, an evangelist from the 1920s who decided she was not content to just live a normal life by worshiping God and staying pure. McPherson wanted to have fun, dance and act in theatrical productions--actions her mother felt were sins.
The musical, playing at the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway at 52nd Street, is an incredible experience and features a delightful and entertaining book, lyrics and additional music by Kathie Lee Gifford. "Scandalous" has exciting music by David Pomeranz and David Friedman, phenomenal choreography by Lorin Latarro and tantalizing direction by David Armstrong.
The audience had a marvelous time as we were introduced to the life and trials of Sister Aimee, a woman who married a Pentecostal minister and found herself also having a calling to preach the gospel and to "heal" people. She found that, besides preaching, she loved to be theatrical and was affectionately referred to as "Hollywood Aimee" because her services at Foursquare Church included stage productions that retold biblical stories through songs and dramas.
The audience for this retelling of her own life gets to witness the passion she and her first husband shared and, following his death, the emptiness in her life and her feelings of anger toward God.
I had never heard of McPherson, but as I watched this engaging production, I wanted to know more about her. I found myself caring about what happened in this woman's life. There is such a passion in Carolee Carmello as she portrays Sister Aimee, and her singing voice is nothing less than amazing.
One of her co-stars is one of my favorite ladies to see on a Broadway stage, Roz Ryan. When I think of Ryan, a star of musicals such as "Chicago," I think of feisty, in-your-face types of characters and am reminded of her stunning vocal instrument, and those associations definitely hold steadfast in "Scandalous." Ryan brilliantly portrays Emma Jo Schaeffer, a whorehouse madam--that is, until she meets Sister Aimee. Emma Jo becomes a close friend and confidante to Sister Aimee and turns her life around. In every scene where Carmello and Ryan sang, I found myself feeling chills; the performances were a triumph!
These two ladies were joined onstage by a phenomenal cast that includes Candy Buckley, Broadway legend George Hearn and Edward Watts.
For tickets to "Scandalous," visit ScandalousOnBroadway.com or call 877-250-2929.