Dorothy Bishop: The Dozen Divas Show

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Dorothy Bishop

The Dozen Divas Show

Metropolitan Room, NYC, August 25, 2017

Reviewed by Joel Benjamin for Cabaret Scenes

Dorothy Bishop

Forget about her sharply focused impersonations of divas from Joan Rivers to Renee Fleming. What’s extraordinary about Dorothy Bishop’s The Dozen Divas Show is the combination of her energy and high spirits which never flagged during more than an hour of singing, dancing, and instant costume changes.

Performed to pre-recorded accompaniment and, several times, to videos with which Bishop interacted, Divas began with Joan Rivers’ screechy “I’m Too Sexy” (Fred Fairbrass/Richard Fairbrass/Rob Manzoli), followed by a gesture-perfect Shirley Bassey and her signature “Goldfinger” (John Barry/Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley), and a rather full-figured Kristin Chenoweth doing “Defying Gravity” (Stephen Schwartz).

Her Sarah Brightman, hidden in a cascade of a curly hair, showed off Bishop’s operatic training (“The Phantom of the Opera,” Andrew Lloyd Webber/Charles Hart/Richard Stilgoe). Staying in that opera vein, Bishop surprised with a Renee Fleming who stumbled through a ditsy, rhythmically challenged—not to mention, hilarious—“It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).” 

Bishop duplicated the famous Barbra Streisand/Judy Garland TV duet of “Happy Days Are Here Again” (Milton Ager/Jack Yellen) and “Get Happy” (Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler) with Garland appearing on video, visiting from heaven where she has communed with such great singers as Whitney Houston.

Bishop got Stevie Nicks’ squeaky warble, her song interrupted by snorts of cocaine. Complete with a gap-tooth smile, Bishop’s Madonna was a self-proclaimed genius who vogued and chatted in front of a strange video featuring claymation figures.

Of course there had to be a Liza Minnelli (“But the World Goes ‘Round” by Kander & Ebb) and a Cher (“If I Could Turn Back Time” by Diane Warren), both moderately successful in a world of Minnelli and Cher imitators.

Bishop’s main limitations are her buxom build and wide features, which make it a tad harder to believe her as several of her characters. Her astute study of their mannerisms—vocal and physical—and her acting help camouflage any deficiency. Nitpicking at Bishop’s occasional slips and carelessness would neglect the overall entertainment quotient and eager-to-please demeanor of this talented lady.

Joel Benjamin

A native New Yorker, Joel was always fascinated by musical theater. Luckily, he was able to be a part of seven Broadway musicals before the age of 14, quitting to pursue a pre-med degree, which led no where except back to performing in the guise of directing a touring ballet troupe. Always interested in writing, he wrote a short play in high school that was actually performed, leading to a hiatus of nearly 40 years before he returned to writing as a reviewer. Writing for Cabaret Scenes has kept him in touch with world filled with brilliance.