The intimate setting of Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theatre in New Port Richey lends itself well to the new cabaret-styled musical revue, “The Singing Divas of Broadway and Hollywood,” opening Sept. 5. Starring Dee Etta Rowe and Mary Anne Edward, these two musical theatre “divas” pay tribute to some of the larger-than-life musical and movie theatre hit classics, spanning decades.
“I wanted variety in all of our programming,” said Ferraro, who has written the dialogue between the numbers, staged, choreographed and directed this production. “This is a big cabaret musical with something for everybody.”
Opening with the exciting “It’s Today” from “Mame,” followed by “Lullaby of Broadway,” from “42nd Street;” “Memory,” from “Cats;” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” from “My Fair Lady;” to a “Sound of Music Medley,” to the sizzling, “Hot Honey Rag,” from blockbuster, “Chicago.” The song list doesn’t stop. Act II has “Sisters,” from the movie, “White Christmas,” a sentimental Patsy Cline Medley, to “The Phantom of the Opera” medley, and more.
“Mary Anne is the quintessential Christine from “Phantom,” and she knocks out those high E flats like no one else,” said Ferraro. “Dee Etta is a great Broadway belter, and has a lot of comedy novelty numbers in the show that everyone will enjoy.”
Rowe is what Ferraro refers to as a spinto soprano.
“She has much vocal versatility and can sing both lower, mid and high range,” said Ferraro. Rowe received acclaim as the wacky farmer’s wife, Mavis in the recent production of “Church Basement Ladies,” and as Maggie in the world premiere of “Coupled.” Rowe has numerous Broadway credits and starred as Golda in the national 2012 tour with her husband, Ferraro, as Tevye, in “Fiddler on the Roof.” She had her Broadway debut in “Most Happy Fella,” starring Georgio Tozzi, and created the role of Olga Von Sturm on Broadway in “Nine,” opposite Raul Julia, Bert Convey and Sergio Franchi.
Edwards is a popular entertainer in Florida and is a coloratura soprano, which, according to Widkipedia is “a type of operatic soprano who specializes in music that is distinguished by agile runs, leaps and trills.” She has an opera background as well as musical theatre. Edwards appeared as Anna in “The King and I,” and as Grace Ferrell in “Annie,” at Show Palace Dinner Theatre. Along with many starring roles off Broadway and regional theatre in Florida, she also performs in her act, “Broadway Melodies,” with Todd Donovan.
Rounding out the cast are two dancers, Debra L. Snyder and Elicia Nystrom. Snyder and Nystrom have numerous credits as dancers. Snyder worked with Ferraro in “Big Bawdy Burlesque,” “Can Can” and others, but she is also a professional belly dancer. Nystrom, too is an accomplished belly dancer, and this is her theatrical debut. Ferraro knew he wanted to bring these talented dancers to his stage to dance “The Orientale,” from the hit musical, “Sugar Babies.”
“It will be quite flashy with swords, and much fun. They are both such a nice addition to this show.”
“The Singing Divas of Broadway and Hollywood,” provides a glittering evening of entertainment, and a trip down memory lane, said Ferraro.
“These two performers are so dynamic together,” he said. “People will sit up in their seats and be toe tapping all evening.”
Opening night Sept. 5 will include a champagne reception to meet the cast, following the show. Shows start at 7:30 Fridays and Saturdays, and a Sunday matinee is at 2 p.m. The show runs through Sept. 28. Tickets are $23.36 plus tax. Tickets are available by phone only at (727) 409-0293. Visit www.ferrarostudiotheatre.com for more information.
Ask about upcoming season tickets — all five shows for $115 for the main season, starting with “Ain’t Retirement Grand!” on Oct. 17 ; “A Christmas Cabaret,” opening Nov. 29; “Murder on the High C’s,” opening Jan. 9; “Holy Cannoli” opening Feb. 13, and “Ain’t Food Wonderful!” starting April 3.