Posted June 1, 2013 | © Photo courtesy of Dallas Symphony Orchestra
"Come on, shake your body baby, do the conga" right on over to the Meyerson this weekend where you can hear the Dallas Symphony Orchestra perform shoulder-bouncing hits like the Miami Sound Machine classic "Conga" as well as "Ragtime," "Stop in the Name of Love," "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough," and more.
Opening last night with the exciting, vintage Hollywood-like sound of the Overture to Gypsy, conductor Richard Kaufman reminisced about his little league days as a member of "the original Bad News Bears" alongside Billy Lancaster, son of actor (and baseball coach) Burt Lancaster. Kaufman subsequently led the orchestra in the very recognizable tunes of Bizet’s opera Carmen which can be heard throughout the score of the popular 1976 movie.
In a flirty, tongue-in-cheek competition for the undivided affections of maestro Kaufman were diva vocalists Julia Murney (who last appeared on Broadway as the green-skinned, misunderstood Elphaba in the Tony Award-winning musical Wicked) and Emily Rozek (most recently seen starring as the perky Glinda the Good in Wicked).Facetiously asserting that the term "Wicked Divas" only referred to their professional affiliations with the Broadway musical and did not in any way reflect an unbecoming personality trait, the two singing actresses entertained musically and comically with humorous back-and-forth banter and faux one-upmanship through multiple costume changes, anecdotes about past show biz experiences, and quips like "You’re really pretty" and yes, but "You get all the funny songs."
Noting how much Dallas has grown since her last visit in 2005 (when she appeared in Wicked’s first stop at Dallas Summer Musicals), Emily Rozek graced the crowd with elegant songs such as "I Could’ve Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady, "Think of Me" from The Phantom of the Opera, and "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic. In turn throughout the evening, Julia Murney maintained natural comedic stylings which were very similar to the television actress Wendie Malick (widely known for her roles as Nina on the sitcom Just Shoot Me! and Victoria on Hot in Cleveland). Murney’s performances of "Diva’s Lament" from Spamalot and "Ring Them Bells" (originally performed by Liza Minnelli) featured a variety of hilarious accents and rivaled any good cabaret/lounge act.
It was the DSO’s slow, peaceful rendition of "Over the Rainbow" however that ushered in the Wicked show-stoppers, with Rozek’s "Popular" and Murney’s "Defying Gravity" being the obvious crowd pleasers along with their touching encore duet of "I Will Never Leave You" from the musical Sideshow.With its quick-hitting, upbeat pace, Wicked Divas is a fantastic date night option or girls' night out activity.