Archive for June 2013


REVIEW: Brother, This is Some Act (or Two)

by Joy Donovan on June 14, 2013

Sisters receive some divine inspiration in the current musical offered by Dallas Summer Musicals.

Sisters receive some divine inspiration in the current musical offered by Dallas Summer Musicals.

Sometimes it just takes a while to get things rolling. Maybe with divine inspiration, something normal becomes a religious experience.

Take “Sister Act,” the touring production currently staged at the Music Hall at Fair Park. The first act is certainly pleasant enough, but like a gospel preacher who gets worked up the longer he goes, this musical has the audience shouting hallelujahs by the end of the second act.

The upbeat musical stars Ta’Rea Campbell as Deloris Van Cartier, a diva of a singer who just happens to witness a murder. Where better to put someone whose taste runs to short skirts and high boots than a convent? She is met by Mother Superior, played by Hollis Resnik, and a sad little choir comprised of screechy nuns. As their music improves, so do their outfits, making the second act worth waiting for. The black and white habits give way to dazzling costumes fit for a religious Liberace, and the songs get a dose of Motown mixed with disco.

The show truly features the music, and it’s a singer’s show. With dancing taking a back seat, the focus is on the vocals and they are heavenly. Presented by Dallas Summer Musicals, “Sister Act” features an original score by Alan Menken, even though it’s based on the Whoopi Goldberg movie by the same name. In 2011, the Broadway production received five Tony Award nominations including one for best score. The performers voices are outstanding, and their comic timing helps get the show plenty of laughs.

“Sister Act” (www.sisteractontour.com) continues through June 16 in Dallas before moving to Fort Worth’s Bass Hall. It’s a religious experience.

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REVIEW: Deep Ellum Scene of Party of Opposites

by Joy Donovan on

Los Amigos Invisibles

Los Amigos Invisibles

The clock on the wall at Trees in Deep Ellum may have been off by more than an hour, but everything happened right on time on a recent Thursday night in Dallas.  After an eclectic disc jockey set that shifted from Bob Marley tunes into 1990s house music, Los Amigos Invisibles turned the club into quite the syncretic party.

Los Amigos Invisibles didn’t begin its set with a bang; rather, the New York-based Venezuelan funk and disco act began in darkness with a simple hand-off from the DJ to the band’s keyboardist.  Layering in guitar, drums and a team of percussionists, Lost Amigos Invisibles took off with the audience and didn’t stop until the last song of their encore.

With a high-energy stage presence (and a guitarist with seriously high-energy hair), the band seamlessly ran the gamut of Latin American rhythms and European or American dance-pop.  Numbers such as “La que me Gusta,” the lead single from the group’s latest album, have a decidedly 1980s-in-Argentina feel, while the wild disco of “El Reino Animal” is a direct descendant of 1970s American disco.  From the unexpected reference to the surf rock standard “Misirlou” to the searing merengue finale, Los Amigos Invisibles had an excitable crowd dancing into the wee hours of the morning.

This was not the typical Latin pop or even rock en español concert. Los Amigos Invisibles leans quite a bit more toward straight-ahead funk and disco and away from the seductive grooves and melodies of other Latin fusion groups.  This is not to say that the band lacks romantic crooning or hip-shaking rhythms; those aspects are just blended in with the funky keyboard lines and disco-beat drumming.

Whether whistling in harmony, inciting the audience members to respond back to their calls or simply vamping in their unique blend of Latin music and funk, the band onstage had just as great of a time performing music as concertgoers did listening. Los Amigos Invisibles surely accomplished all that they had set out to do.

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Southlake Teens and Their Summer Plans

by Joy Donovan on

Not all teenagers are up to no good.

In fact, two Southlake teenagers are up to a lot of good.

Maria and Julia Myers of Southlake have started their own non-profit organization. How’s that for not having to whine “Mom, I’m bored” at the beginning of summer?

The inspiration was the documentary “Walk to Beautiful,” a tale of five women who suffer from poverty and inadequate healthcare. The Southlake sisters’ reaction sent them into action. The two girls created the charity Pretty Purposeful and have planned a special fundraiser, set for Tuesday at Timarron Country Club, 1400 Byron Nelson Parkway, in Southlake. The event will feature speakers with topics aimed at teens.

Check it out at www.prettypurposeful.com.

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