I’m thrilled to announce that we have added a new member to the B2: Productions team. Joseph Riley Land is our new blogger. I will of course continue to write the email blasts about upcoming shows etc. but Joseph will be handling the blog aspect and writting about your various shows. So if you have an upcoming event/show and would like to have it reviewed and/or covered for our subscribers please reach out to me and we will make it happen. So with that in mind, here is the first contribution by Joseph Riley Land…enjoy…and see you all behind the lights!
I’m going to admit my ignorance. I went to Aaron Davis Hall Friday night knowing only one thing about the featured performer, Lillias White, and that was that she is a Tony Award winner. All of that changed during the course of the ninety-minute show that ran through roughly a dozen songs and not one, not two, but three – yes, three – standing ovations. From a New York audience. I was impressed. I was also her “Big Fat Daddy,” but we’ll get to that in a minute. The show started out with White introducing the band and very graciously thanking everyone for being there.
She then proceeded to pay tribute – pour libations – to “those who have moved on,” listing names of performers who have passed in recent years, then asking the audience to join in. From there she moved into a collection of songs that ranged from covers of Luther Vandross and Michael Jackson to classic Broadway show tunes.
At times bawdy, at times humble, White worked the stage – and the audience – like the veteran she is. She danced. She did high kicks that would make half the Rockettes jealous. She showed out. And then, then came… Irene Reid’s “Big Fat Daddy.” I saw it the second she started the song. She was singing to me, looking me squarely in the eyes. She moved around the stage, singing, dancing, shaking, shimmying, doing all of the things a lady does when she sings a song about a man who gets her going. She traded her mic for a cordless one, came to the front of the stage, standing directly in front of me and said, “Come here.” What’s a reviewer to do but comply?
After her first standing O, White moved back to the stage, and tore into more classics. It’s easy to see (and hear) why this woman has an Emmy and a Tony on her mantle (not to mention the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards). As the kick-off performance of the season, the folks at Aaron Davis Hall couldn’t have chosen a better performance. The theater was packed, the audience enthralled and Miss White picked up at least one new fan.