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I’ve always maintained—sometimes against stiff critical headwind—that cabaret is essentially a form of musical theatre, and that some of the best cabaret artists are the ones with a solid stage background. If you doubt that, head on over to the Missouri History Museum to see Christy Simmons’s "Count Your Blessings" and be convinced.

Published in Theater Reviews
Thursday, 09 December 2010 23:22

Red Hot and very cool

Christy Simmons makes a welcome return to St. Louis theatre with a beautifully realized performance as Sophie Tucker in The Last of the Red Hot Mamas. Tucker was a major star in vaudeville and nightclubs in a career that lasted from the turn of the last century until her death in 1966. In order to get work when she started, she performed in blackface – not something she liked, but she turned to African-American performers of the day for advice to make her numbers authentic. She carried that training with her when she dropped the blackface. That, and her frequent double-entendres and slightly raunchy material gave her performances a quality rare at the time, one that justified her claim to be "The Last of the Red Hot Mamas."

Published in Theater Reviews

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