One of the unexpected delights of the recent Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival was Blood Sisters, a concert staging of an exciting original musical starring an all-African-American cast. Last last month the show returned to Orlando for a limited run, and it concludes its 3-performance engagement at the Parliament House's Footlights Theatre tonight (Saturday 7/7).
Since producer Michael Wanzie sent word that plenty of seats are still available, and they had the good taste to quote me on their poster, I'm passing along the following info, along with a reprint of my original Fringe review. If you are a fan of powerfully sung soul showtimes, this is one you won't want to miss.
Saturday, July 7, 2012, 8pm
At The Footlight Theatre
THE BLOOD SISTERS The Musical: In Concert
Saturday July 7, 2012
The Footlight Theater
At The Parliament House
$12 Advance: www.WanziePresents.com
$15 at the door if available
Ticket Price Includes Complimentary Club Cover For Remainder of the Evening
The setting is fictional “Metro City U.S.A.,” where five Smith sisters are living under one strife-stricken roof until Mama decides she needs her “private time” and gives them all 5 months to get jobs and move out. It sounds like it could be a hit sitcom on FOX’s fall schedule, but it’s actually the story of Blood Sisters, an intriguing new musical by Malikah Harris & Jacquelyn Graham that’s getting a slimmed-down concert presentation in the Fringe’s yellow venue.
Broadway-credited director Marion J. Caffey presents the show as more of a musical revue (edited down from a full-length script) than a fully fleshed out play. Narration (delivered from the side of the stage by Donald Wilcox) and dialogue is minimal, mostly serving to move us from one musical number to the next. The real star here is the fantastic score, delivered by six stellar singers (RhyanMichelle Adams, Cynthia Calhoun, Ella Glasgow, Toy Matthews, Tonya Phillips Staples, Virginia Roebuck). Sonic styles range from Broadway-inflected R&B and good-old gospel to Americanized Afropop, with an exciting opening number that recalls Fela Kuti.
I wish the most interesting character didn’t disappear after the opening minutes, and the 40 minutes that opening night’s performance ran wasn’t nearly enough time to get to know these characters. Sadly, shows created and performed entirely by African-Americans are often unfairly dismissed as only aimed at that demographic. As the proverbial “whitest guy in any room,” I can happily say I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and left Blood Sisters wanting more.