KT McCammond: Deconstructing la Diva

| March 31, 2017

KT McCammond

Deconstructing la Diva

Davenport’s, Chicago, IL, March 4, 2017

Reviewed by Carla Gordon for Cabaret Scenes

KT McCammond

Many reasons explain why Deconstructing la Diva ranks among this season’s finer cabaret offerings in Chicago.  Foremost is Diva KT McCammond herself. Her chops honor Bizet or Amy Winehouse with equal aplomb. She moves with the grace of the dancer that she is. And there’s that statuesque, charismatic sex appeal. It’s edgy at times, yet never harsh. Deconstructing la Diva further intrigues because of its strong point of view. It explores what makes a diva a Diva. Of course, that’s talent and looks and clothes. Mainly, though, Diva-dom is about attitude. Maybe this diva safari is not particularly fraught with meaning—perhaps, though, it is. In an parody to “Fever” (John Davenport/Eddie Cooley), which cites divas through history (including Cleopatra commanding us to “kiss her asp!), McCammond sings “EVERYONE can be a diva!,” and that is food for thought.

Highlights include “The Accordionist” by Gregory Opelka, which is a wickedly funny story song about shooting the neighbor for his nightly accordion practicing. At times channeling Marlene Dietrich, McCammond convinces not only the judge, but the audience why it’s justifiable homicide. She channels Marilyn Monroe’s engaging performance as Sugar Kane in Some Like It Hot as she strums the ukulele to “Running Wild.” When McCammond re-emerges on stage, following a brief exit for a costume change, that was nicely filled by musical director Beckie Menzie, it was Tina Turner time. The six-inch silver shoes and flowing mini-dress set the perfect mood for “Proud Mary” and “What’s Love Got to Do with It?.” This show has legs. There will no doubt be future performances. McCammond may wish to reconsider opening with the “Habanera” from Carmen. While classical chops are dazzling, many of us in the audience don’t understand the words. McCammond offers us a taste of troubled divas like Judy Garland and Amy Winehouse. She might want to wander deeper into what  lurks behind the bravado of a diva with a dark side. Deconstructing la Diva is a grand offering: Indeed, it’s diva-licious.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, Chicago, Chicago Cabaret Reviews, Regional

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