“Funny” is an understatement when it comes to describing the performers of Signature Theatre’s Funny Ladies Cabaret because all of the women were hands down, knee-slappin’ hilarious actresses! The cabaret featured local DC favorites Shayna Blass, Carolyn Cole, Maria Egler, Donna Migliaccio, Maria Rizzo, Dorea Schmidt, Jenne Sokolowski and Lauren Williams, all emceed by the sass-tastic Holly Twyford, and all accompanied on the piano by the very talented Jonathan Tuzman.
The evening began with a spoof of A Little Night Music‘s “Send in the Clowns,” sung by the entire collective setting the mood for the show ahead. In that introduction, each performer revealed their quirks and endearing awkwardness which drew a gaggle of giggles along with laugh-out-loud reactions from the audience.
After the ensemble exited to reveal Twyford as the hostess for the evening, she spotted her bosom buddy for the night – aside from her “booty-pop” – a 10-year-old boy in the front. He was lucky enough to continue to be a point of reference not only for her, but for every performer in the non-PG cabaret. Twyford was a favorite because she was totally on-point with her narration and antics while she emceed. However, every performer offered an amusing anecdote and/or song to share and here are some of my favorite performances in order of appearance:
Williams embodied Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid with a monologue about her sad solitary life as a fountain attraction, and followed that with a colorful version of the character’s torch song “Part of Your World” sprawled out on the floor in green pants and fins to complete the look.
Egler, after apologizing to the 10-year-old for the profanity to follow, worked the stage – and part of the house – with her version of “Everybody’s Girl” from Steel Pier. Following that, Rizzo performed two songs which had me bursting with laughs. First, in her well-acted rendition of Alice Smith’s “Stop Wondering,” she scolded an ex-lover about assuming she still had him in her thoughts. Then as a submissive cat alongside Sokolowski, who has a style similar to SNL’s Kristen Wiig, she sang “Party Hat” – written by Joe Iconis.
The most memorable moments for me were Blass, Cole, and Migliaccio’s game of musical tag, to “Don’t Rain on my Parade” from Funny Girl, and Migliaccio singing “Rubber Ducky” in a way that would have made Ernie re-think the relationship he had with his bathtub playmate.
All in all, the cabaret was a great way for everyone in the room to unwind and relax after a solemn day of remembrance in the nation’s capital. I look forward to seeing all of these women again in future productions. Although Funny Ladies only had one performance, you can check out more fabulous performances in Signature Theatre’s Autumn Cabaret Festival for ten more days!
Running Time: Approximately one hour.
Signature’s Funny Ladies played on September 11, 2013 at Signature Theatre – 4200 Campbell Avenue, in Arlington, VA. For upcoming tickets to Signature’s Autumn Cabaret Festival, call (703) 820-9771, or purchase them online.