"Bodacious Ladyhood is a tantalizing trio of vibrant voiced chanteuses whose blend of sounds and choice of material have made them a must-see in the Seattle cabaret scene."- David-Edward Hughes, Talkin' Broadway
"Bodacious Ladyhood combines unique material choice and mellifluous harmony to create an evening of show-stopping entertainment...impressive, innovative and inimitable."- J.J. DeWitt, SeattleActor.com
Sixty Years of Pop Music in 90 Minutes
I love the primal power of a guitar chord as much as the next knuckle-dragger, but there's something uniquely inspiring and entertaining in the simple, timeless intertwining of singing voices in harmony. If it's done right, acapella singing can hopscotch genres and entertain with more versatility than even the most adroit rock musician can muster. And Bodacious Ladyhood do the (mostly) acapella vocal tango splendidly.
All Girl Band, the trio's current cabaret show, runs at Thumper's in Seattle, Fridays and Saturdays until October 1; I was fortunate enough to catch it last week, and I'm glad I did. If you don't have a lot of patience for vocal-group shenanigans, fear not: The Ladyhood are one step ahead of you. Their set wryly touches on many of the format's cliches with knowing and loopy humor, even as they deliver the song selection with panache and passion. Andrews Sisters covers come a dime-a-dozen with vocal groups, but this ensemble playfully poked fun at that inevitability before unearthing a hilarious Sisters obscurity ('Strip Polka') and singing the hell out of it.
The remainder of their program last Friday bounced easily between doo-wop (a fun 'Why Do Fools Fall in Love'), swing ('Route 66', done to a cucumber-cool T), Broadway (well-chosen selections from A My Name is Alice and Guys and Dolls), Bacharach (a sublime and tight cover of 'Say a Little Prayer'), and even prog rock (BL's lush remake of Spock's Beard's 'June' totally beat the stuffing out of the original). They delivered several songs by Northwest acapella loonies Uncle Bonsai with relish, and their cover of Moxy Fruvous' 'Kick in the Ass' was flat-out hysterical. Even through the silliest material, none of the guffaws came at the expense of vocal finesse.
All three women--sopranos Carolyn Hastings and Loretta Deranleau Howard, and alto Jenny Buehler--are solid singers individually, and their distinctive pipes each added something to the mix. Hastings held the high end with angelic purity, Howard provided gospel belter's fire in the middle, and Buehler's creamy low notes lent nuance to the bottom end. Deanna Schaffer's fine ivory-tickling fleshed out the sound in all the right places. In the end, though, the ensemble's the thing, and all three voices interwove with un-self-conscious ease.
A really great acapella group can make even the most marginal pop song sound good. And these women reconfigured a Phil Collins song enough to make it palatable to me. That, my friends, is sheer flippin' genius.
Tony Kay, Pop Culture Petri Dish
BODACIOUS LADYHOOD WINS W/ ALL GIRL BAND
All Girl Band, the new cabaret show at Thumper's, is a winning sophomore staging from Seattle's cleverly titled Bodacious Ladyhood. "Bits&Bytes" had fond memories of the group's first cabaret show, Some Eclectic Evening, last year on Thumper's Cabaret On The Hill series. This scribe was surprised-but delighted-to find his rave SGN quotes on the group's press release for All Girl Band. Way to go, Ladyhood!
The group's second cabaret show repeats the audacious mix of novelty numbers and solid three-part harmony from their freshman outing. With two great ensemble outfits-matching, color-coded blouses for the first set, black and copper glitz and glamour for Act II-the trio looked great and sounded great.
At their best with up-beat numbers, the trio often sings a cappella but also uses the talented Deanna Schaffer on piano. Ladyhood is officially Carolyn Hastings, Loretta Deranleau Howard and Jenny Buehler, but, like many "girl groups" (from The Andrews Sisters to The Supremes) they create a collective sound that no one member can replicate as a soloist.
Favorites: Barry Manilow's "Bandstand Boogie," an a cappella "Don't Put It In Your Mouth" (a favorite with the Gay men in the audience), a stylish gender-bending "Fugue For Tinhorns" (from Broadway's Guys & Dolls) and the Andrews Sisters' rarely performed "Strip Polka" (which featured an honorary "Queen" as Queenie, The Queen Of Burlesque. Last week, the man selected to be "Queen" got a good-hearted razing from his table of Gay friends).
SOME BODACIOUS EVENING
The Oak Room at Thumper's rocked with happiness last weekend when a three-woman troupe called Bodacious Ladyhood opened its Some Eclectic Evening cabaret show. The spirited revue continues Friday and Saturday nights through Sept. 25.
A "Cabaret With Harmony & Humor," the clever revue saluted Broadway (songs from Hairspray, Little Shop Of Horrors), The Andrews Sisters, The Nylons, a blues sequence, a delightful teaming of "Black Coffee" and "Java Jive."
An audience-pleasing tribute to the power of chocolate nearly stopped the show. Loretta Deranleau Howard, the strongest voice of the three vocalists, led "Chocolate Is Great, Chocolate Is Grand." When she sang out, "A Toll House Cookie/Is Better Than Nookie" the crowd went wild. "Interjection!," a campy reworking of Handel, was another showstopper.
Bodacious Ladyhood is basically an a capella group of three women - Carolyn Hastings, Jenny Buehler and Howard, a cabaret veteran who always pleases. For the Thumper's gig, Deanna Schaffer provides piano accompaniment on selected sequences.
It's a fun, fun cabaret show. Check it out.
Milton W. Hamlin, Seattle Gay News
Photo by Heather Braden