Monday, November 12, 2012


An elderly woman is interviewed about her reaction to the new Broadway show Scandalous with a remark about being on her bucket list. I saw the show this past Saturday afternoon.

Writer Kathie Lee Gifford (we are all familiar with her television personality) and star Carolee Carmello certainly have something to give praise to.  Aimee Semple McPherson, the world’s first Hollywood Superstar Evangelist, is the controversial subject that may make a few bucks for them.

Kathie Lee wrote the book, lyrics and some additional music while the rest of it is credited to David Pomeranz and David Friedman.  Scandalous has a tremendous amount of songs some of which were pretty good and I’ll give credit for Lee’s writing.

Here’s the story.  Aimee’s mom, Minnie Kennedy (Candy Buckley) is totally big on the bible and her daughter’s position in life.  Aimee is interested in acting.  Mom’s against it. Amiee’s dad, James (George Hearn) is okay with whatever his daughter calls to her.  Amiee marries young to Robert Semple and has a kid (we never seem to see her offspring, even from her second marriage).

Preaching somehow comes out of acting and she meets up with Emma Jo Schaefler (Roz Ryan), a madam, who gets convinced to join her cause.   Thank goodness because we need that one African-American female comic character.  

The show opens with Aimee being on trial for her scandalous life.  I never did get how much scandal was worth a trial except that after her divorce she met Harold McPherson on her way to Hollywood fame and married what I think was a man who promised himself to another.   I guess that being an Evangelist and going Hollywood might create a scandal back in the 1920’s, especially for a woman.

Scandalous has some pretty decent choreography but don’t expect some big numbers.   A few that stood out for me. The first number, “Stand Up” is a great opener for both many of the cast and Carolee.  In fact, just about anything that Carolee sang was outstanding. 

Roz Ryan had her feature in the song, “A Girl’s Gotta Do What a Girl’s Gotta Do” along with the ensemble of girls.  It’s Roz and Carolee’s performance that truly makes the show. 

When it came to Aimee’s Hollywood career, “Moses and Pharaoh” threw in a few side splits of humor, although the characters were portrayed as being more “Jewish” than “Hebrew”…like it was taken from a Fiddler on the Roof song.

The show runs about two and half hours with a 15-minute intermission.  A printout of songs was placed in the Playbill. Two songs were eliminated but still too long!  I recommend the show to Church groups although I did not get that any sect of Christianity was emphasized, nor the mention of Christ.  Scandalous is entertaining, but please don’t put this one on your bucket list! 

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