Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Concert Review - GMCLA 30th Anniversary

(top: Della Reese and Donzaleigh Abernathy) (middle: Joely Fisher flanked by Tippi Hedren and Abernathy) (bottom: Erin Hamilton with mom, the one and only CB)
Photo credit: Bill Dow

Indulging us with a little bit of history since its inception in 1979 - with a heavy emphasis on the Civil Rights Movement, some meritorious political rhetoric against Prop 8, and a whole lot of excellent musicianship, GMCLA (the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles) presented their long, yet enjoyable 3-hour gala 30th anniversary concert Monday, August 25 at the Walt Disney Hall downtown. Joely Fisher, pretty, spunky and deliciously droll, served as MC (named an honorary lesbian and gay man). Upon her first entrance she proclaimed that since Margaret Cho said no to hosting the event, who else could they ask that would be least likely to refuse? Well, Fisher filled the bill splendiferously, and even sang in the second half of the program: "All the Good Men Are Gay", punctuating her intro with "Fuck Kristen Chenoweth!" Gifted belter that she is, Fisher ignited the capacity house.
Guests included the ageless and still incredible Della Reese singing "I've Been Touched by an Angel" (the one she wrote with accompanist TC Campbell, which CBS did not use as the theme for the series - they should have - it's good!) and her own rocking "Work It Out". Then came Erin Hamilton, Carol Burnett's beautiful youngest daughter - who knew she could sing so well??? a new diva for the pop world- electrically rendering John Lennon's "Imagine" and "One World" (her own riveting composition with Scott Anderson).
The second half included a verbal and musical ode to gay marriage with guest partners George Takei and Brad Altman - who are just about to legally tie the knot, a lovely rendition from the chorus of "We've Only Just Begun" and 2 dynamic solos from guest Levi Kreis who sang the "Sordid Lives" theme and a world premiere "Look How I've Grown". A rollicking "Brand New Day" from The Wiz ended the evening which included a welcomed return from Ms Reese and a gorgeous encore from the group"Take Me to the World".
The opening Prologue from Ragtime was a bit too ambitious, but Billy Rugh did well with the choreography within the limits of the stage. "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" and "Cancion con todos" were two of the most memorable highlights from the chorus. A formidable display of artistry by one and all! Bravo!
Don't miss the chorus in their regular shows this special 30th year-season at the Alex in Glendale!


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