Club Review: The Randy Andys

September 27, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

The Randy Andys is a female vocal group with a rotating cast of singers. They harmonize tight, meticulously arranged versions of music ranging from the Great American Songbook, to Aerosmith (“Love in An Elevator” by Joe Perry, Steven Tyler; arranged by Tim Rosser), to Whitney Houston (“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by George Merrill, Shannon Rubicam; arranged by the show’s musical director, Adrian Ries), to contemporary pop (“good 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo, Dan Nigro, and Hayley Williams, Josh Farro; also arranged by Ries). The style is a contemporary take on harmony groups like The Boswell Sisters and The Andrews Sisters. I enjoyed so much about this show. However, it was what I would characterize, to quote Dolly Parton, “Ten pounds of concrete in a five-pound sack.”

Sarah Pothier

The performance was very entertaining and consistently high energy under the direction of Antoinette DiPiertropolo.  The singers on board that night comprising the trio—Joy Del Valle (Louella), Jocelyn Lonquist (JoJo), Sarah Pothier (Bev)—are all very skilled, and they have a really good blend. At least two of three were sopranos, and there was a lot of nasal resonance from those voices, so if you’re not a fan of that sound, you’ve been forewarned. Regardless, a lot of talent was on display, from the singers to arrangers, to the stylist and choreographer, Gina Daughtery.

The women were all adorable and their wardrobe was absolutely great—each one was costumed differently with a black, red and white theme. It was a retro-vibe, of course, and it presented really well—well made, well-fitted and uncomplicated. 

Jocelyn Lonquist

This was not the case with the entire show. After just a few numbers with the trio, they brought their swing on stage (Roslyn Seale) to do two songs, and it was a really abrupt and unnecessary transition that added nothing. It’s a trio, and Ms. Seale wasn’t swinging that night, so why interrupt the flow?  

Joy Del Valle

There was a bifurcated script that didn’t serve one purpose. When you have absolutely great material and great talent, I couldn’t figure out the point of having character names and accents (one character was a Southern belle speaking with an exaggerated Southern drawl). Then a whole story about the trio having been frozen (yes, cryogenics) emerged later on, apparently just to accommodate a massive mashup, arranged by Ries, titled “Cryonic Polka” (“A Hazy Shade of Winter” by Paul Simon; “Freeze Frame” by Seth Justman, Peter Wolf; “Cold As Ice” by Mick Jones, Lou Gramm; “She’s So Cold” by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards; and “Let it Go” by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez.) The cryogenics storyline entered clumsily in a show with so much already going on. 

Roslyn Seale

Arrangements were expert, complicated, but often played too fast. Favorite arrangements were “Material Girl” (Peter Brown, Robert Rans), arranged as a very fast rhumba by Micah Young; the mashup of “Mr. Sandman” (Pat Ballard) and “Enter Sandman” (Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, aka Metallica; arranged by Micah Young); and Ries’s mashup of “All the Single Ladies” (Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, Terius “The-Dream” Nash, Thaddis “Kuk” Harrell, Beyoncé Knowles) with “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” (Leo Robin, Jule Styne). On “Single Ladies,” the transition into a boogie beat at the bridge (“if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it”) was fun and sexy.   

I can only imagine what the performers felt like after packing 17-plus songs into an hour, with every song choreographed to within an inch of its life. And I think if you feel you have to set the stage with a back story, just the explanation of the name of the group would be enough (which they delivered in the early part of the show) with maybe a storyline and jokes built just around that. We all know what “randy” means, I think, and we’re all adults. 

The closing number was the superb “Woman” (Kesha Rose Sebert, Drew Pearson, Stephen Wrabel). I fear the Southern Belle’s mom would have been disturbed by the language, but it is a 21st century take on “I Am Woman” (Helen Reddy, Ray Burton) and “I’m a Woman” (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) that took the audience by surprise and slayed me.

***

Presented at Don’t Tell Mama on September 18.

 

Category: News / Reviews / Commentary, Reviews

About the Author ()

Though now Betsyann Faiella is known in New York primarily as a publicist, she came to that profession from two previous careers that contributed to her love of promoting creative people: as a working singer and as a media producer. She made her cabaret debut at the legendary Reno Sweeney. She was the lead singer in a band with Lewis Friedman, the impresario of both Reno Sweeney and s.n.a.f.u. Later she performed in such other iconic venues as Birdland, Blue Note, the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, and Ronnie Scott's in London. She appeared in concert with jazz legends Hank Jones and Paul Smith and performed at arts centers and universities around the country.

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