Sunday, June 13, 2010

Carmen Miranda - The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat

Magi Avila

Magi Avila is currently starring in the world premiere musical Carmen Miranda - The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat at The Hudson Backstage Theatre, which runs through June 27. The evening is delivered in a narrative format with Avila relating stories about Miranda’s life and singing a number of her most beloved songs including “Tico Tico,” “Chica Chica Boom Chic,” “Brazil,” and “Cuanto Le Gusta.”

The 7-piece orchestra led by musical director Dennis Kaye is outstanding and features seasoned professionals Bob Coulto on trumpet, Ron Hershewe on guitar, Cengiz Yaltkayo on keyboards, Michael Soloman on drums, Jeff Markgraf on bass and Geremy Dingle on trombone. Kaye also plays clarinet and sax, and takes his turn in a Benny Goodman favorite “Paducah” that is a highlight of the evening.

Dingle doubles as a number of the men in Miranda’s life, beginning with Lee Schubert in a phone call that was so funny I laughed until I had tears in my eyes. Markgraf also steps out of the orchestra to take on some great vocals as Mel Torme, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

Avila’s Carmen Miranda is a sparkling vision – all sequins and rhinestones, fruit and feathers – and when she bursts into song it is truly a celebration. She remains onstage the entire time, except for two quick costume changes, and uses all of her stamina to maintain the high-energy performance, although pacing of her monologue portions of the evening is a bit uneven and could benefit from more specific direction.

Carmen Miranda - The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat is written by Sam Mossler, Magi Avila, Geremy Dingle and Beto Araiza, who also directs. Choreography is by Dan Coffman.

Some performances for the show are already sold out so if you love Carmen Miranda and her music, get your tickets now. For more information go to
www.plays411.net/newsite/show/play_info.asp?show_id=2302.


By the way, fans of the singer can also find a group on Facebook dedicated to her called The Carmen Miranda Appreciation Society.

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