Well-Behaved Women is really a concert more than a play. The seven performers take on the roles of nineteen different women throughout history as they perform their songs, so in that way, it’s more than a concert. Perhaps the best comparison might be Six, another performance that features historical women performing, as if in concert. While this isn’t Six, it’s still damn good. There have been some really interesting and inspirational works in the last few years giving voice to historical women. From Six to Theatre Pro Rata’s 46 Plays For America’s First Ladies, and now Well-Behaved Women. There is something deeply satisfying about hearing from those who were overshadowed for so long. It’s refreshing to see narratives being told through the female lens with regularity. The diversity of perspectives is what keeps theater fresh and feeds creativity. Of the 15 songs performed during the performance there may have been one or two that didn’t have the potential to make your musicals playlist. Strong compositions from the creator Carmel Dean. Sometimes with a particular composer you get a sense of their style, but Dean seems able to write songs in any genre, all unique and make an impression. Of course the downside of just singing 15 songs one after the other in 80 minutes is that by the time it’s over, all you can remember of the first ones were that you enjoyed them. But those are good problems to have.
When there is no plot other than those contained within each characters song, there’s not a lot one can say to give you an idea of what to expect. The best I can do is tell you that you will hear 15 good to great songs sung by some phenomenal singers. You’ll learn about some women you were unfamiliar with and others you know well. Some of the songs will make you laugh like “In the Beginning” sung by Christine Wade in the character of Eve, first among women. Though, for my money the show stoppingly funny, “The Only Girl at the Table” sung by Serena Brook as Mary Magdalene, is the one that had me laughing the most. But there are also songs that move and inspire you such as the final three songs “Lady Liberty“, “Order in the Court“, and “Still I Rise“. And then there are songs that are just beautiful to listen to such as “Yo Simplemente Soy” sung by Estefania Sedarski as artist Frida Kahlo. There’s so much to take away from this show, it’s the kind I wish I had time to see again with my daughter, but this one isn’t going to be around for very long so get your tickets now.
Well-Behaved Women runs through February 18th at the elision Playhouse in Crystal. For more information and to purchase tickets go to https://www.elisionproductions.com/
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