What you want? R-E-S-P-E-C-T has got it

The World Musical Premiere created by Kerry Meads and Vanda Eggington Plays Tribute to the Female Legends that Made the 1960s Decade, ICONIC 

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

The cast of R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Photo  JT MacMillan

There are so many musicals now dedicated to American icons that topped the charts week after week in different decades like Beautiful, TinaAin’t Too Proud, Million Dollar Quartet... LAMB'S Players in Coronado did a fantastic job producing the world premiere of R-E-S-PE-C-T, a musical dedicated to all those women that made the 1960s decade magical and full of amazing songs. It is lovely to see a production dedicated to only women. 

The cast: Angela Chatelain Avila, Caitie Grady, Rebecca Jade, Janaya Mahealani Jones, Sydney Joyner, and Joy Yandell bring different shades of flare to the stage that is practically bare with a top to bottom fringe curtain that highlights videos and pictures of the time to frame each artist and song that is being performed, with a groovy projection design by Lacio Pontes. In one of these projections, we see a 1967 clip with Leonard Bernstein discussing Janis Ian's Society's Child and questioning why it is not being played on the radio. A rhetorical question of course, and I appreciated that this was included in the roster to point out segregation and racism. 

Three musicians are on the left side: Steve Gouvia on guitar, Dave Rumley with percussions, and Oliver Shirley on bass. Ben Read is on the right playing the piano. The concert-style format of the 80-minute performance with no intermission was smoothly directed by Kerry Meads co-creator of the show, and Vanda Eggington who was in charge of the musical direction and arrangement. Almost any iconic song you can think of during the 60s, sung and/or written by a woman is in the repertory: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural WomanThese Boots Are Made for Walkin', It's My Party, and so on paying homage to artists like Carole King, The Supremes, Dionne Warwick, Nancy Sinatra, Tina Turner, the list goes on and on. 

Jemima Dutra's costume design gave plenty to run with having many changes that went from sequin dresses to gogo boots and jumpsuits. The same goes for Connie Brugman's wig design which went from short to long to a bob that was accessorized with the changing outfits being clever and creative. All the ladies have different potency and reach in their voices that adapted to the interpretation of each artist. The sound design for a show like this is definitely a big task and Patrick Duffy brought it, however, the sound quality was low. The women at times sounded like they were inside a drawer and the sound went on and off. It was until the second part of the performance where they had handheld mics that it sounded a tad better. The cast's versatility showed triple and quadruple threats as they played instruments onstage like guitar, piano, and saxophone. 

Christine Wisner Hall's choreography is another character in this piece recreating iconic dance moves from the era, which complemented the nostalgia.  

For a new musical that is just debuting R-E-S-P-E-C-T definitely got it, baby.

Currently performing at the Coronado venue and extended NOW until June 4, there are Wednesday matinees a la Broadway for all interested and to see more performance dates and times, click here

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