Reviewed: April 18,2018
Summer, The Donna Summer Musical is playing at the Lunt-Fontaine Theatre located at 205 West 46th Street. It runs one hour forty five minutes with no intermission. The musical is an opened ended run.
The musical premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse on November 7, 2017.
Donna Summer was born on December 13, 1948 as LaDonna Adrian Gaines. She died on May 19, 2012 of lung cancer. Donna was a five time Grammy winner. She earned 32 hits on Billboard Hot 100. Some of her hits are “Love to Love You Baby (1975), Bad Girls (1979), She Works Hard for her Money (1983).
Des McNuff is the director. He won two Tony Awards for The Who’s Tommy (1993) and Big River (1985). He was nominated for three Tony Awards for The Who’s Tommy (1933 best book of a musical), How to Succeed in Business Without really Trying (1995) and Jersey Boys (2006).
Sergio Trujillo is the choreographer. He was nominated for a Tony Award for On Your Feet (2016).
Paul Tazewell is the costume designer. He has been nominated for six Tony Awards and won one for Hamilton in 2016.
LaChanze won a Tony Award in 2006 for The Color Purple.
We learn about Donna thru her as a Diva (LaChanz), Disco Donna (Ariana DeBose) and Duckling Donna (Storm Lever). The story goes back and forth with the different Donnas. Some of the things we learn are how she got started, the men in her life, her children and different times in her career. Her ups and downs I’m not telling you well here’s some. She did drugs, she was accused of making remarks about gays which she didn’t, her manager took of advantage of her and left her broke. She sued him.
Donna use to perform in front of her mother (LaChanze) and her father (Ken Robinson) with her two sisters.
When she married her second husband Bruce Sudano (Jared Zirilli), they lived in California. She had two daughters with him and one with her first husband. She semi-retired to raise them and painted.
That’s some of the tidbits we learn about her the rest you will have to see the musical to find out. Even if you young and don’t know the disco era you still will love the music. It still rocks!
LaChanze, Aria DeBose and Storm Lever are astonishing. They do justice to Donna Summer and her legacy. The costumes were awesome! The large ensemble shines too! Ariana DeBose has come a long way since I first saw her on Broadway in Bring It On. She gets better each time I see her.
No matter what generation you are from, you will enjoy this show.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for photos. Click on photos for this and other shows.