Monday, September 15, 2014

Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical @ The Theatre at St. Clement’s

Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical is a high energy, glamorous, and riotous story of the life of Sylvester, the “Queen of Disco” through all of its twists, turns, and fabulous outfits. Sylvester’s life started off rough and ended in a hard place as well, but Mighty Real proves the idea that you can reach the highest heights by remaining true to who you are and never extinguishing a fiery passion. The most fun from this production comes from Sylvester’s music like “Mighty Real” and “Do You Wanna Funk”, as well as other popular disco and soul hits like “Raining Men,” “Respect” and “Proud Mary.”
The book of the show isn’t the most original, ground-making material, but the music and the cast more than make up for any shortcomings. All of the performers were phenomenal singers and performers. Anthony Wayne, as Sylvester, has amazing charisma that makes him shine literally every moment he is onstage. And his voice is absolutely incredible – hitting those high notes seems effortless. And the passion that Wayne has for the project, as he is also the co-Director, book writer and producer, really shines through. The other members of the show get their moments as well. Anastacia McClesky (Izora) and Jacqueline B. Arnold (Martha) bring the house down with the classic “Raining Men,” while Deanne Stewart (Sylvester Singer) steals the show for a brief moment with her appropriately wild rendition of “Proud Mary.” The fantastic band gets their moments to shine as well, with a short number in the last third of the show where each band member gets a second to solo. The audience is an additional cast member as well. Reflecting the gospel and church influence of disco music, there is a lot of response from the audience with murmurs of approval, “Amen’s” and cheers whenever the audience feels like it. The setting of the theatre in an actual church helps support this, and their energy and enthusiasm help drive the show.
All the production elements came together to fully realize the story of Sylvester’s life. The costume design by Kendrell Bowman, who’s also the co-director and a producer, really helps establish the glitz and glam that Sylvester’s life was full of. David Lander’s lighting and scenic design reinforced that glam as simply as possible-proving that you don’t need a million dollar Broadway budget to still feel fabulous. Hair & Wig design by Porsche Waldo and Make-up by Meghan Yarde was also excellent and disco-era appropriate.
Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical officially opened on September 14th, after previews starting September 5th and will run through October 5th at the Theatre at St. Clements, located at 423 W. 46th Street.

Review By: Chrissy Cody
Photos By: Joan Marcus

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