Dorothy Bishop: The Dozen Divas Show

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Dorothy Bishop

The Dozen Divas Show

Metropolitan Room, NYC, September 4, 2015

Reviewed by Peter Leavy for Cabaret Scenes

Dorothy-Bishop-Dozen-Divas-Show-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Can you even conceive of a show where a dozen of the entertainment world’s most famous stars get together to perform in the very same cabaret show? Well, there it was, on the Metropolitan Room’s stage, featuring, among others, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Cher, Madonna, Dolly Parton, Sarah Brightman, Barbra Streisand — right there — all of them. Or reasonable facsimiles thereof. Dorothy Bishop’s characters are a genuine howl. More than just impersonating her subjects, she nails the essence of them — their personas, their mannerisms, their movements, their speech.

And to the great enjoyment of her audience, she does it mercilessly. She’s a sharp-eyed caricaturist as much on target with her subjects as was the late great Al Hirschfeld with his pen. Using multiple quick changes of some great tongue-in-cheek costumes and wigs, Bishop morphed from celeb to celeb, starting with a quite acceptable re-embodiment of Joan Rivers, then reappearing as a highly-charged Shirley Bassey in the space of a little more than a (sly) wink. And if that initial Joan Rivers bit wasn’t enough by itself to establish Bishop’s reputation as a four-star parodist, her follow-up Bassey number did the job with her first few extravagant bars of “Goldfinger.”

The truth of the matter is that I’d gone to the show to take the night off and relax, not to write a review. But little more than five minutes into The Dozen Divas Show and I was eagerly scratching notes onto my little pad. The more of the show I watched, the more I was sure that this woman and her parodies were too good not to let our readers know that here’s a show not to be missed. All of the targeted celebs were nicely and often hilariously roasted, with one particularly choice segment being Bishop’s Barbra Streisand engaged with Judy Garland via a video remote from heaven.

In a post-show conversation with Bishop, I leaned that the Divas Show had been three years in the making, and that she credits much of its success to her co-writer James Jorden and collaborator John Paollilo. “I have not done this alone!” she declares. I also discovered that Dorothy Bishop has been deemed a Metropolitan Room “Artist in Residence,” where she’ll repeat this show October 9th, November 25th and December 23rd. For some out-of-town dates in Connecticut and South Carolina as well, check her schedule at “It’s a bit of a spoof,” Bishop adds about the show, greatly understating it, “but I love all my divas. I like to think that if they were sitting in the audience, they would laugh.” It’s hard to disagree.

Peter Leavy

As a youthful columnist, Peter offered dating advice to Seventeen magazine’s teen readers. Simultaneously, his “think pieces” and articles on entertainment appeared in other national magazines. Editing four magazines for a small publisher when the Korean Conflict erupted, Peter entered military service, becoming Editor-in-chief of The Army Home Town News Center. After service, he joined the family business and in the ensuing decades created several companies in the fashion and home decoration industry. Peter signed on as one of the first contributors to the fledgling Cabaret Scenes magazine, later was named associate editor and, in 2007, took over as publisher.