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Playing at the Neil Simon Theatre. Located at 250 West 52nd street. The musical runs two hours and thirty minutes with one intermission. It is an open ended run.
Aimee Semple McPherson lived from 1890-1944. She was an evangelist, media celebrity in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Aimee founded the Foursquare Church.
A production of the musical “Saving Aimee” with book and lyrics by Kathie Lee Gifford and music by David Pomeranz and David Friedman (all of whom did this show) premiered at the White Plains Performing Arts Center in October 2005. It went to the Signature Theatre in Arlington, West Virginia from April to May 2007. A revised production opened on September 30, 2011 at Seattle’s Fifth Ave. Theatre.
Carolee Carmello was nominated in 1999 for a Tony Award for “Parade”. In 2011 she was nominated for a Drama desk Award and Tony Award for “The Adams Family”.
George Hearn won an Emmy for the Showtime production of “Sweeney Todd”. He was in the original cast of “la Cage Aux Folles” (1983). George won the tony Award, Drama desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actor in a musical for La Cage. He won his second Tony Award in 2000 in the revival of “The Diary of Anne Frank”. Mr. Hearn was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in January 29, 2007.
Kathie Lee Gifford is best known for her fifteen years (1985-2000) on the talk show “Live With Regis and KathieLee”. She has been nominated for eleven Daytime Emmy’s and won her first in 2010 as part of “The Today Show” team.
The setting is Angelus Temple Los Angeles 1927.
Scandalous opens in July 8, 1926. A grand jury is convened on whether to charge Aimee on fraud for claiming she had been kidnapped. It seems she was last seen on June 8, 1926 and when she reappeared she asserted that she had been abducted but the facts seemed otherwise. On either side of the stage are people calling out what was thought to have happened.
Aimee Semple McPherson was born in Salford, Ontario. Canada. This is her life story beginning when she was six weeks old until the grand jury findings. It tells how she became an evangelist and what became of her. What happens in between you will have to see the show if you want to know.
This is a well done biography. I liked the way they told her life story. I’m sure things were left out. Who knows if what was told is true. But things did not seem slanted in one direction. When she was on trial they gave all kinds of opinions of what was speculated on what happened. Not one point of view. At the end the ensemble in costume tells you what happens after the trial. She died on September 27, 1944. Some think she committed suicide others an accidental overdose of drugs. One nice thing was they put closure on what happened after the trail and what happened to the church she founded. I was curious as to what happened to her children.
The music tells the story well. Though there is not one song you would leave singing.
Walt Spangler did the set design. It was wonderful. The main set has steps on either side, the top part looks like a steeple. When it is the church it comes together, otherwise it is separate. The back of the stage wall is used and different props are used to set the time and place.
Carolee Carmello as Aimee Semple McPhearson is sensational. Her voice is out of this world. No pun intended. George Hearn as her father and Brother Bob are done so differently you would never know it was the same actor. That’s how good he was. Roz Ryan as Emma Jo Schaffer is touching in her role. This is one lady you don’t want to mess with.
If you not into evangelists this may not be the show for you. But it is an awesome done biography with a great cast, costumes and set.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
For a candid interview with the cast scroll down on the left side for recent photos. Click on recent photos for this and other shows.