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John Ciccolini: The Hot Chick Show 4

| October 8, 2017

John Ciccolini

The Hot Chick Show 4

Tom Rolla’s Gardenia, West Hollywood, CA, September 26, 2017

Reviewed by Elliot Zwiebach for Cabaret Scenes

John Ciccolini

The Hot Chick Show is pure entertainment—and a hoot to boot.

The “Chick” of the title is John Ciccolini (pictured), who sings and acts and has now added producing to his résumé by conceptualizing and delivering a series of revues that consistently seem to capture audiences’ fancies. While each of the previous three revues has had a concept that linked the varied performances to each other, this latest edition had an actual storyline of sorts—about a group of six adolescents at Chaste High School living and loving and competing in a singing contest—that offered a group of stellar singers a chance to do a bit of broad acting along with their musical numbers.

The three women—consisting of a love-struck young thing, a cast-aside girlfriend, and a vixen—were known collectively as the Chicklettes, while the three guys— all super-cool in their attitudes toward women and all coincidentally from New Jersey in real life—called themselves the What Exit. The result was a grand night for singing of songs reminiscent of the 1950s. 

Ciccolini was strong in a hip-swinging “Runaround Sue” (Ernie Maresca/Dion DiMucci), with effective doo-wop backup from Craig Cochrane and Eddie Eng—all three dressed in white T-shirts and jeans and acting macho-cool in dealing with the women. Stepping out of the trio, Ciccolini moved through the audience during “Command Me” (John Jiler/Ray Leslee, from Avenue X), selecting a woman at random, holding her hand and reciting to her the song’s syrupy lyrics about undying love and a willingness to do whatever she wanted.

Among the Chicklettes, Alexis Fae Gach was effective as the sweet and demure lead singer on “Johnny Angel” (Lee Pockriss/Lynn Duddy),” with Courtney Cook and Keri Kelsey providing strong back-up harmonies. Gach also led the trio on a welcome “Shoop Shoop Song” (“It’s in His Kiss”) (Rudy Clark) in a version worthy of the original.

Kelsey, as the cast-aside girlfriend, joined Ciccolini for a heart-rending “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” (Howard Greenfield/Neil Sedaka), with Cochrane stepping in to offer her comfort with a gentle “I Could Have Told You” (Jimmy Van Heusen/Carl Sigman). Cochrane also did a pinpoint, over-the-top version of “I (Who Have Nothing)” (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller). In a solo spot, Kelsey started to pour out her broken heart with “Tammy” (Ray Evans/Jay Livingston) then, wising up to the situation, tossed off her blouse and poodle skirt in favor of a black sheath underneath for a sultry, declarative “I’m a Woman” (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)—a real crowd-pleaser.

In another show-stopper, Cook defied the primary time frame of the show with a thrilling “If He Walked into My Life” (Jerry Herman, from Mame), albeit with great 1950s-style rhythms from Musical Director Ron Snyder on piano.

Another crowd-pleasing moment came when Eng performed a solid “Secret Love” (Sammy Fain/Paul Francis Webster), ending by ignoring Gach’s love-struck young thing to bring Cochrane to center-stage to share a brief kiss.

Audience applause declared the Chicklettes the winners of the singing contest, and everything ended happily with the six principals combining for a great version of “Stupid Cupid” (Greenfield/Sedaka), including every little hiccup in the refrain.

The evening also featured a turn by Andrew Tarr as the host of a 1950s kiddies’ TV show, who offered some amusing comedy bits, particularly as he looked into his crystal ball at the future to make fun of the times we actually live in.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Cabaret Reviews, Regional

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