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  1. #1

    Mary Wilson Starring In SOPHISTICATED LADIES!

    From 2002:

    Last edited by marv2; 04-06-2020 at 07:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Thanks for posting Marv. Incredible voice esp at 3:18 - 3:45.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by detmotownguy View Post
    Thanks for posting Marv. Incredible voice esp at 3:18 - 3:45.
    You're most welcome DET! Did you hear how long she held that note? Whew!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by detmotownguy View Post
    Thanks for posting Marv. Incredible voice esp at 3:18 - 3:45.
    It's hard to believe it's been almost 20 years. She still sings with such power today.

  5. #5
    This is what I'm talking about! This was where Mary needed to be, music wise. She sounds so great on that first song. Aside from the Supremes, Mary missed her calling. I am now convinced that jazz, smooth jazz, light r&b, is the genres she should have pursued post Supremes. There's no telling how many Grammys she'd have by now. This was so great to see!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    This is what I'm talking about! This was where Mary needed to be, music wise. She sounds so great on that first song. Aside from the Supremes, Mary missed her calling. I am now convinced that jazz, smooth jazz, light r&b, is the genres she should have pursued post Supremes. There's no telling how many Grammys she'd have by now. This was so great to see!
    I agree to a large extent. That is why I could not imagine Mary singing Jelly Bean Benitz's "Holiday".

  7. #7
    This is beautiful. So exciting to see Mary’s talent in a different setting.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    This is beautiful. So exciting to see Mary’s talent in a different setting.
    Mary has done a number of stage plays and stage musicals. "Sophisticated Ladies" was of the best. Still, it would be nice to see the full show, as well as the full show of "Supreme Soul" she did in Sweden in 1997.
    Last edited by marv2; 04-08-2020 at 05:39 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I agree to a large extent. That is why I could not imagine Mary singing Jelly Bean Benitz's "Holiday".
    Yeah, on first thought one should dismiss the idea because it wouldn't be a good fit for Mary. On the other hand, it was such a mismatch that it might have worked. It probably would've had some differences that suited Mary as opposed to Madonna. Mary and dance music is usually a no no, but again it might have been just crazy enough to work.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Yeah, on first thought one should dismiss the idea because it wouldn't be a good fit for Mary. On the other hand, it was such a mismatch that it might have worked. It probably would've had some differences that suited Mary as opposed to Madonna. Mary and dance music is usually a no no, but again it might have been just crazy enough to work.
    Oh there was a great chance that it would work. It was as simplistic as The Supremes "Where Did Our Love Go", perhaps even more so and we know how much Mary hated that song originally, but it went on to become a huge hit.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    This is beautiful. So exciting to see Mary’s talent in a different setting.
    I think this show may have been the catalyst for Mary to start singing more Jazz, which led to her Up Close Jazz concerts.

  12. #12
    It’s too bad the show fell apart before it even opened when it ran out of money, with Mary having to fire the equity cast/crew and hire scabs, Mercedes Ellington pulling out as a result — all spelling a death knell for the production. Had it succeeded it might have really bolstered Mary’s career at the time. Sadly, bad advice has often led her down a number of garden paths.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by BigAl View Post
    It’s too bad the show fell apart before it even opened when it ran out of money, with Mary having to fire the equity cast/crew and hire scabs, Mercedes Ellington pulling out as a result — all spelling a death knell for the production. Had it succeeded it might have really bolstered Mary’s career at the time. Sadly, bad advice has often led her down a number of garden paths.
    I remember that. I met a couple of the original actors at one of Mary's concerts. I also remember that this was scheduled for a national tour less than one year after 9/11 which had some impact as well.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by BigAl View Post
    It’s too bad the show fell apart before it even opened when it ran out of money, with Mary having to fire the equity cast/crew and hire scabs, Mercedes Ellington pulling out as a result — all spelling a death knell for the production. Had it succeeded it might have really bolstered Mary’s career at the time. Sadly, bad advice has often led her down a number of garden paths.
    Reviews like this from the LA Times didnt help after Mary the firing all the equity actors. It wpouldnt have made it to Broadway.

    https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-...r20-story.html


    ‘Sophisticated Ladies’ Is More About Mary

    By DARYL H. MILLER Sophistication has always been a quality associated with Duke Ellington.
    It begins right there in his nickname. Born Edward Kennedy Ellington, he was called Duke by a boyhood friend who admired his regal air. He fully grew into the name by writing music that combined ragtime piano, call-and-response technique, classical symphonic devices and other forms into a lush, propulsive sound.
    In 1981, much of the best-known of this music was played on Broadway in a music and tap-dance extravaganza called “Sophisticated Ladies.” Though the show proved to be curiously uninvolving there and in Los Angeles in 1982, it was, at least, a classy, flashy affair.
    The same cannot be said of a production that has begun a national tour with a stop through tonight at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. What was once an ensemble show has been so resolutely focused on original Supremes member Mary Wilson that Ellington fades into the background.


    Originally announced as a lavish production, staged by Ellington’s talented granddaughter, Mercedes, the show arrives instead with a cast of just 14 singers and dancers, directed and choreographed by Roger Spivy. The under-rehearsed show was plagued Monday night by bad miking, botched lighting and overall bad timing.
    On a more fundamental level, Wilson wasn’t always suited to the music. Her dusky, sometimes gritty voice is quite capable of generating electricity, but her musical temperament is another matter.
    She connects most instinctively with the up-tempo numbers, as when she breaks into scat in “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” or when she infuses a playful sexiness into the Billy Strayhorn classic “Take the ‘A’ Train,” complete with breathy “ooh-ooh” train sounds. She struggles through most of the torch songs, however, showing effort where there should be none in the cascading sighs of such tunes as “Solitude” and “Something to Live For.”
    The other female vocalists outshine Wilson, which even the Wilson-loving Monday night audience betrayed in its more spontaneous response to them. In tempos ranging from the sassy “Hit Me With a Hot Note and Watch Me Bounce” to the sultry “Mood Indigo,” Luci Lucil displays one of those rich, honeyed voices that comes from somewhere so deep inside that it seems to be rising from all the way down in her toes. And Jen Mize lends a big, ‘40s band-singer style to “Caravan.”


    The production contains far less tap than the original, which was presided over by Gregory Hines and Hinton Battle. Still, the group dance numbers are its most polished aspect, especially a jungle-themed Cotton Club-style number that puts the women dancers (Mize, Lisa Beasley, Crystal Eden and Rachael Sellars-Montoya) in bikinis sprouting palm fronds and sends them undulating through “The Mooche.”
    The instrumentals are handled by a horn-heavy 14-member ensemble that, as of Monday, wasn’t playing cohesively under trumpeter-bandleader Barrie Lee Hall Jr. What’s more, the sound levels had them drowning out the vocalists, who too often found themselves singing in the dark or into either overactive or dead mikes.
    With so many problems, sophistication is the least of this show’s attributes.
    *
    “Sophisticated Ladies,” Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. Tonight at 8. $50-$40. (800) 300-4345. Also March 10 at Poway Center for the Performing Arts; (858) 748-0505. Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes.
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    Last edited by Roberta75; 04-10-2020 at 01:59 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Roberta75 View Post
    Reviews like this from the LA Times didnt help after Mary the firing all the equity actors. It wpouldnt have made it to Broadway.

    https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-...r20-story.html


    ‘Sophisticated Ladies’ Is More About Mary

    By DARYL H. MILLER Sophistication has always been a quality associated with Duke Ellington.
    It begins right there in his nickname. Born Edward Kennedy Ellington, he was called Duke by a boyhood friend who admired his regal air. He fully grew into the name by writing music that combined ragtime piano, call-and-response technique, classical symphonic devices and other forms into a lush, propulsive sound.
    In 1981, much of the best-known of this music was played on Broadway in a music and tap-dance extravaganza called “Sophisticated Ladies.” Though the show proved to be curiously uninvolving there and in Los Angeles in 1982, it was, at least, a classy, flashy affair.
    The same cannot be said of a production that has begun a national tour with a stop through tonight at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. What was once an ensemble show has been so resolutely focused on original Supremes member Mary Wilson that Ellington fades into the background.


    Originally announced as a lavish production, staged by Ellington’s talented granddaughter, Mercedes, the show arrives instead with a cast of just 14 singers and dancers, directed and choreographed by Roger Spivy. The under-rehearsed show was plagued Monday night by bad miking, botched lighting and overall bad timing.
    On a more fundamental level, Wilson wasn’t always suited to the music. Her dusky, sometimes gritty voice is quite capable of generating electricity, but her musical temperament is another matter.
    She connects most instinctively with the up-tempo numbers, as when she breaks into scat in “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” or when she infuses a playful sexiness into the Billy Strayhorn classic “Take the ‘A’ Train,” complete with breathy “ooh-ooh” train sounds. She struggles through most of the torch songs, however, showing effort where there should be none in the cascading sighs of such tunes as “Solitude” and “Something to Live For.”
    The other female vocalists outshine Wilson, which even the Wilson-loving Monday night audience betrayed in its more spontaneous response to them. In tempos ranging from the sassy “Hit Me With a Hot Note and Watch Me Bounce” to the sultry “Mood Indigo,” Luci Lucil displays one of those rich, honeyed voices that comes from somewhere so deep inside that it seems to be rising from all the way down in her toes. And Jen Mize lends a big, ‘40s band-singer style to “Caravan.”


    The production contains far less tap than the original, which was presided over by Gregory Hines and Hinton Battle. Still, the group dance numbers are its most polished aspect, especially a jungle-themed Cotton Club-style number that puts the women dancers (Mize, Lisa Beasley, Crystal Eden and Rachael Sellars-Montoya) in bikinis sprouting palm fronds and sends them undulating through “The Mooche.”
    The instrumentals are handled by a horn-heavy 14-member ensemble that, as of Monday, wasn’t playing cohesively under trumpeter-bandleader Barrie Lee Hall Jr. What’s more, the sound levels had them drowning out the vocalists, who too often found themselves singing in the dark or into either overactive or dead mikes.
    With so many problems, sophistication is the least of this show’s attributes.
    *
    “Sophisticated Ladies,” Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. Tonight at 8. $50-$40. (800) 300-4345. Also March 10 at Poway Center for the Performing Arts; (858) 748-0505. Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes.
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    OUCH! That was harsh - Mary should have known better. She IS part of the ensemble and always fares better as such.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    This is beautiful. So exciting to see Mary’s talent in a different setting.
    I wished everyone could have seen Mary perform her solo in "Beehive". She sang a spectacular, slowed down version of Sonny & Cher's "The Beat Goes On". She did this very poignant soliloquy on her brother and the Vietnam War. You could hear a pin drop in that theater everyone was so focused on her and the moment.

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