Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mini review - Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara


Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara

written by & starring Vanessa Claire Smith & Jake Broder

directed by Jeremy Aldridge

Matrix Theatre

extended thru December 21

This show shines brightly on so many levels. First, it's a well- written musical biography of Louis Prima and Keely Smith, who set the Vegas musical scene on fire from the late 40s to the early 60s. It features the original standards made famous by the duo and their band: "That Old Black Magic", "Embraceable You", "Pennies from Heaven", "I've Got You Under My Skin", "Just a Gigolo", "I Ain't Got Nobody", these gems and many more!! Secondly, it's great drama, as the story of the stormy relationship - professional and personal - unfolds throughout the onstage live performance, from Prima's band leader beginnings in New Orleans, to Smith's joining on as a band singer and eventually becoming Mrs. Prima, to Prima's physical demise due to a brain tumor. Last but hardly least, it's as entertaining as all get-out. And thank goodness, a new generation will come in contact with this super-great music, and get to know, or at least glimpse and taste, the geniuses that were Louis Prima and Keely Smith.

To praise Smith, Vanessa Claire that is, for her inventive play and virtuoso singing, and Broder for his rhythmically dynamic portrait of Prima that never lets down for a split second, and to Aldridge for his fluid staging, will only end up being an understatement of the facts. All I want to say is that this is what truly great theatre is all about. Thank you for your sheer brilliance, and to the 7 musicians in the band, "You blew the roof off the joint!". I did not want it to stop! I look forward to seeing L & K on the Great White Way!

5 out of 5 stars


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