Monday, February 18, 2008
3 Mo' Divas
This show deserves a long run in Manhattan, not just one night in Brooklyn. Everything about it is fabulous -- the women’s voices, their presentation and personality, the back-up band under the direction of a dynamic pianist. It would be impossible for them to make this show any better than it is.
The Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts placed this concert in its Blockbusters series, which is appropriate because that’s just want it is, a blockbuster. Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, Laurice Lanier (in photo) and Jamet Pittman hold nothing back; they are amazing. Saturday night’s concert was two hours long and I could easily have sat through two more. Those women radiated with the joy of performing. The Brooklyn Center is a big place, but they filled it with their talent -- and the audience LOVED them. The energy from stage to audience and back again was thrilling. 3 Mo’ Divas put on an even better show that Three Mo’ Tenors, and that’s going some because the Tenors are great.
Billed as “an evening of class, sass, and feminine style,” the Divas perform some of the most inspiring and challenging music ever written for the female voice. Like the Tenors, they sing through the genres of opera, Broadway, soul, gospel, spirituals, new school, jazz, and blues. Their selections include “Quando m’en vo” from La Bohème, “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle (Habanera)” from Carmen, “Seasons of Love” from Rent, “Let the Sunshine In” from Hair, “Lady Sings the Blues,” “It’s Raining Men,” “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in his Kiss),” and “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” I’d go hear them anytime they’re playing in the area.
3 Mo’ Divas was created in 2004 following the success of Broadway writer/director Marion J. Caffey’s Three Mo’ Tenors, a show he crafted for black opera singers after being inspired by The Three Tenors -- Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti -- in concert. The success of Three Mo’ Tenors, which recently finished a five-month engagement Off-Broadway at the Little Shubert Theatre (see my Jan. 3 posting), led to the creation of this sister ensemble. Employing only versatile singers with “serious classical training,” Caffey has created in 3 Mo’ Divas a concert that spans 400 years of repertoire and eight musical genres.
Not only are the Divas fantastic, but so are the musicians who accompany them. Unfortunately their names are not listed in the program, which they certainly should be because they’re terrific. It was a glorious evening.
Brooklyn Center’s Blockbusters series concludes March 15 with a performance of Mandy Patinkin: In Concert. I hope to be there for that, as well as for “Evita” on April 6.
Founded in 1954, the mission of Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts is to present outstanding performing arts and arts education programs, reflective of Brooklyn’s diverse communities, at affordable prices. Brooklyn Center’s presentations explore both the classical traditions and the boldest contemporary performances, embracing the world culture that defines Brooklyn. Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts welcomes more than 70,000 people annually, including 42,000 schoolchildren from more than 225 schools, in the 2,400-seat Walt Whitman Theatre at my beloved Brooklyn College.
For the schedule of upcoming shows, visit BrooklynCenterOnline.org.