From Jean Brandau,
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Date Posted: 06/ 5/05 4:31:51am
Men Wearing Skirts & Make-up Is No Joke in Huntsville
Six Contestants...Only One crown!
Book and Lyrics by Bill Russell and Frank Kelly
Music by Albert Evans
Conceived by Robert Longbottom
Directed byLee Deal
Musical Direction by Ron Simmons
Frankie Cavalier.........................Shane Kennedy
Miss Deep South ......................Casey Hollingsworth
Miss Bible Belt ..........................Doug Maze
Miss West Coast ......................Caleb Brown
Miss Industrial Northeast ........Mark Moorehead
Miss Texas.................................Brett Warnke
Miss Great Plains......................Rodney Pruitt
Providing music for Pageant is Joe Manning on Bass, Becky Waters and Ron Simmons on keyboard and George McCluney on drums.
Six men competing as women in a beauty pageant sounds like a lot of fun to me...and it was! This interactive play is as much fun for the audience as it is for the actors.
In fact, I think those men were having entirely too much fun pretending to be women! This is one contest you won't want to miss.
We have our own Mrs. America right here in Huntsville, Miss Teen USA was on TV last week (Miss Teen Alabama got in the Top 15!) and I was involved (behind the scenes, of course!) with some county beauty pageants in Iowa. So this show by Bill Russell (who also wrote "The Texas Chainsaw Musical") seems right up my alley.
Here's how the Renaissance promotes this show: "One of the rowdiest farces to ever take the stage. Pageant pits six wacky beauty queens against each other in Glamouresse Cosmetics' annual extravaganza. Miss Texas, Miss Great Plains, Miss Deep South, Miss Industrial Northeast, Miss West Coast and Miss Bible Belt sing, dance and camp it up in evening gowns and bathing suits. A hilarious talent contest is equaled only by the zany "spokes-model" event which requires them to hawk the sponsor's products, among them facial spackle and nutritious, edible lipstick in 27 colors including roast beef red and poached salmon pink. While les girls swirl around the charming host in the funniest beauty contest ever seen, judges selected from the audience score them to decide who will be crowned Miss Glamouresse. Rave revues appear in city after city when Pageant is in town."
It's hard to believe that Director Lee Deal had to hold four auditions to fill these roles. It's obvious that the "men" adapted readily and easily to playing women. The makeup and costume people have done an outstanding job making these poor homely ladies look like real beauty queens...and not just cross-dressers or men in drag. These statuesque, buxom beauties with shapely legs are obviously enjoying "being a girl." In fact, I thought they strutted around in high heels better than I do. Three actors in the show are making their theatre debut...of course, you won't recognize them or anyone else, for that matter. Every one of the girls are just excellent in their rendition of Miss "Whatever" and make you believe you are really watching women.
Every night, five judges are chosen from the audience and allowed to score the contestants. At the end of the evening, Miss Glamouresse is crowed--without anyone knowing who will win until the end of the show. This show spoofs beauty contests, right down to the silly questions and the stupid answers, the swimsuit competition, and the lame talent show. I was impressed with one contestant's ventriloquist skills (sorry I forgot which contestant!). "She" did three voices (well, four, if you count his own!) and it was quite impressive towards the end. I was also amazed at the rollerskating while playing an accordion--not sure if it was real. I know the skates were, though.
Bob Baker has created another gorgeous set for these lovely ladies to prance around on. He even built a nice looking space ship for one scene. I guess we're just lucky that we live in Space City, USA and the space suit was available "around the corner." I can only imagine the trouble other theatres went through coming up with something.
This show is fun, fun, FUN--and one you really shouldn't miss. If you've been meaning to get over to see something at my favorite theatre, then this will be the show that you really should go see. The Renaissance Theatre is always giving us something different and quirky and this is just another example of their delicious offerings. The "Misses" in "Pageant" will be competing weekends through August 21st.
August 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21 at 8 p.m.
August 15 at 2:30 p.m.
For tickets call (256) 536-3117.
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