A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a musical review “As If We Never Said Goodbye” starring drag queen sensation Veronica Garland. The brainchild of operatic bass Matthew Anchel, Veronica Garland is described as a “full figured Julianne Moore”, but boasting the temperament of Gloria Swanson’s Norma Desmond and Joan Crawford (onscreen and off) with a beautifully versatile, and at times, ear shattering voice.
“As If We Never Said Goodbye” featured the exuberant, world-class talents of Miss Garland’s operatic and theatrical colleagues, Zachary Altman (the show’s director), Rachel Felstein, Daryl Freedman, Dan Kempson and Tom Magill.
Before I continue relaying my wonderful experience watching this performance, I should inform you that I have had the privilege of seeing each of the cast members in various operatic productions where they have each exquisitely demonstrated their prowess on the stage. For this added reason, the review was an even bigger treat to experience.
Some wonderfully memorable moments were soprano Rachel Felstein and mezzo-soprano Daryl Freedman belting out an erotic rendition of “As Long As You’re Mine” from Wicked as well as Dan Kempson and Zachary Altman’s surprisingly steamy take on “Lily’s Eyes” from The Secret Garden. I was also thrilled to see Miss Garland take the stage with Daryl and Zach, reprising their winter show stopping trio “A Step Too Far” from Aida. Tom Magill often stole the show, acting as Veronica’s starry-eyed assistant who only wanted a chance to be on stage, sang Emcee’s “Wilkommen” from Cabaret with clear tone and zeal.
Apart from the lesbian-themed duet from Wicked, there were actually some bigger surprises. The cast sent me back a decade unexpectedly with their fantastically executed ensemble number “Walk Through The Fire” from Once More With Feeling... you know, the musical episode from the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’m not embarrassed an ounce to admit that I watched Buffy every week for the entirety of it’s run, and when the cast broke out into the song, I uncharacteristically shouted in excitement from my seat… yes I’m a nerd.
Of course, like any show, there was a crowning moment. When Miss Garland sang the famous ballad from Sunset Boulevard, a rush of energy filled the audience that slowly built and finally burst into joyous applause like a collective firework.
I am thrilled to announce that Veronica Garland’s next performance will take place at Shetler Studios next Sunday, July 17th, 2011 when she takes on the role of Margaret White in… wait for it, Carrie: The Musical.
The notorious Broadway flop only saw the light of the Great White Way for 5 performances after 16 previews in 1988. Hey now, I know what you’re thinking “of course it flopped… Carrie the musical!?” The show failed due losing it’s financial backers after receiving negative reviews, even though the show was selling out every seat. The music was actually written by Michael Gore, the Oscar-winning composer of the title theme from FAME, and lyrics by Grammy, Tony and Oscar-Winning lyricist Lawrence D. Cohen. Soon to experience new life off-Broadway this winter with the incomparable Marin Mazzie as Mrs. White.
Though I was initially skeptical, Veronica Garland invited me to a musical rehearsal for the show to see for myself, and honestly? I kind of love it! So if you’re in New York City the weekend of the 17th, join me and an enthusiastic audience at Carrie: The Musical. You can RSVP on the show’s Facebook Page . To watch videos from last month’s performance, just click the blue highlighted links above!
The show information is as follows
Carrie: The Musical
244 West 54th st
New York, NY
Margaret White: Veronica Garland
Carrie White: Morgan Anderson
Sue: Christiana Little
Chris: Rachel Felstein
Ms. Gardner: Whitney Hughes
Tommy: Tom Magill
Billy: Edmond Cody
$10 per person, 2 DRINKS INCLUDED IN ADMISSION!