Tuesday, 18 October 2011 15:02

On The New Orleans Entertainment Boards, Gennifer Flowers, Fiddler and NOBA

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Gennifer FlowersBack when she was singing and cutting up in her namesake club in the French Quarter in the early 2000s, Gennifer Flowers was offering a drink bearing the name “Gennifer’s Kiss.” It was a double shot of Southern Comfort served in an appropriately pink, plastic, lip-shaped glass.

That same suggestive lip pattern appears in the promotional ads for the upcoming production of THE HALLELUJAH GIRLS starring Miss Flowers that opens this coming weekend. Staged under the auspices of the Jefferson Performing Arts Society, the show will run from October 21 through November 6 at Teatro Wego! Theatre, 177 Sala Avenue in Westwego’s Salaville Historic District.

Sponsored by Sammy L. Steele III and the Dr. Donald and JJ Dooley Fund, THE HALLELUJAH GIRLS will showcase Miss Flowers as the “heavy” of the piece. She portrays Bunny Sutherland, the villainess who will stop at nothing in trying to take ownership of a day spa in fictitious Eden Falls, Georgia where a group of women friends gather every Friday to socialize, kibbitz, gripe or whatever – oh . . . and maybe even squeeze in a little exercise in as well.

Beyond the notoriety of her long-ago relationship with Bill Clinton, the still-stunning, multi-talented Miss Flowers has enjoyed a successful career in showbiz here and in Las Vegas and along the Great White Way. In addition to drawing SRO crowds to her former club in the 700 block of St. Louis Street, she took some time away from the Big Easy in 2004 to star in the title role of  BOOBS! THE MUSICAL...THE WORLD ACCORDING TO RUTH WALLIS. Based on the life and career of risqué cabaret singer Ruth Wallis, the show enjoyed a 300-performance run at New York’s Triad Theatre and garnered rave reviews in the Big Apple media.

Starring alongside Miss Flowers is Sandy Bravender, a 30-year veteran of the local stage scene who many will remember as co-owner of the former Star Castle Dinner Theatre on the West Bank and artistic director of the former Carlone’s Dinner Theatre in Metairie. She plays the role of Mavis, whose marriage is “so stagnant she's wondering how she can fake her own death to get out of it.” Ms. Bravender also directs the show.

Other cast members include Karen Hebert as Sugar Lee, the beleaguered spa owner; Claire Conti as Carlene who has “given up on romance, having buried three husbands”; Anita Lyles as Nita, “a nervous wreck from running interference between her problematic son and his probation officer”; and Carol Woltering as “sweet, simple Crystal [who] entertains them all, singing Christmas carols with her own hilarious lyrics.” Male members of the cast are Terrell Robinson as Bobby Dwayne and Leo Babin as the spa’s porter.

The promoters promise “a side-splitting, joyful comedy that will make you laugh out loud and shout ‘Hallelujah!’” So, if that’s the case, we’ll hold them to that promise and find out soon enough. Show times are 7:30 p.m. for the Friday and Saturday shows and 2 p.m. for the Sunday matinees. Ticket prices are $30 for adults, $27 for seniors 65 and up and $20 for students with valid ID.


While THE HALLELUJAH GIRLS are yukking it up on the West Bank, a more somber scenario will be playing itself out on the East Bank as FIDDLER ON THE ROOF opens this weekend at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center in Metairie.

The classic tale of conflicting generational values, FIDDLER chronicles the struggles of Tevye, the poor Russian dairy farmer, to hold his family together and maintain old traditions in the face of anti-Semitism and changing social mores in the early 20th century. The original award-winning Broadway musical introduced such classic songs as "Sunrise Sunset," "Matchmaker," "If I Were a Rich Man" and "Now I Have Everything."

 Directed and choreographed by Kenneth Beck with JPAS General and Artistic Director Dennis Assaf conducting the JPAS Broadway Pit Orchestra, FIDDLER stars Stephen Rushing in the lead role of Tevye and Dana Rice Guidroz as Golde. Performances will run from Saturday, October 22 through Sunday, October 30. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. for the Sunday matinees. The Jefferson Performing Arts Center is located at 400 Phlox Street (East Jefferson High School), Metairie.

For tickets and information for either or both shows call 504-885-2000 or visit the JPAS website at www.jpas.org.


The New Orleans Ballet Association literally kicks off its 2011-2012 season with some high kicking from the world-renowned, Brooklyn, New York-based Mark Morris Dance Group.

MMDG is noted for its commitment to live music, a feature of every performance on its international touring schedule since 1996. MMDG collaborates with leading orchestras, opera companies, and musicians including cellist Yo-Yo Ma. It is especially noteworthy for combining contemporary dance routines and techniques with classical music accompaniments. The New Orleans performance will incorporate the music of Mozart, an appropriate selection since Maestro Morris is often hailed as the “Mozart of Modern Dance.”

The Mark Morris Dance Group will stage only a single performance this Saturday night, October 22, at 8 p.m. in the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Ticket prices range from $20-$80. For tickets and information call NOBA at 504-522-0996, Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, or order directly from their website, www.nobadance.com.

by Dean Shapiro

Fiddler on the Roof

Mark Morris

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