Women Who March

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Women Who March

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, March 8, 2019

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

Reprising their show from last year at The Duplex, Sarah Burke and Hayley Ardzzoni have collected a similar cast of characters to expound upon the nature of modern femininity. Here, a slightly different cast sang similar songs, and absolutely showed off. The show was even more impressive than last year’s, and I felt happy to have the privilege of being part of this show, even as an audience member. From start to finish, the show entertained. In between group numbers, each of the young women shared what made their journey both difficult and special before breaking into song.

My three favorite performers of the evening were Angelica Toledo, Bettina Lobo, and Zakiya Baptiste.

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Toledo performed “Superwoman” (Alicia Keys/Linda Perry/Steve Mostyn) after discussing what it means to be Latina as a second-generation American.

The rest of the performers provided backup vocals from the audience, so when Toledo rang out, “I am Superwoman, yes I am,” they responded, “Yes she is.” Lobo had the furthest to travel to join the show, technically speaking. Being from Venezuela, she discussed the news of the dictatorship’s recent reign of terror, before singing about what she wanted to create—a “Beautiful City” (Stephen Schwartz). Her voice soared as she belted her message of moving forward. Next, Baptiste sang “Burden Down” (Jennifer Hudson/Jamie Hartman/Lindy Robbins) about letting go of the need to feel perfect while supporting other people’s needs. Her strong high notes, especially in the second half of the song, really got the crowd into it.

As usual, Burke and Ardizzoni performed well, together and separately. Together they performed “Shallow” (Stefani Germanotta/Andrew Wyatt/Anthony Rossomando/Mark Ronson), notably sung by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star is Born. Separately, Ardizzoni performed “I Am What I Am” (Mark Owen) and Burke performed “Shake it Out” (Paul Epworth/Tom Hull/Florence Welch). Each spoke of acceptance on their own path to now while giving a positive view of the future. Another who did the same was Ashley Ryan, also music director, who sang “Armor” (Sara Bareilles). She left us with the sentiment that with her armor, she can do anything.

D’yshe Mansfield, McKenzie Dade, Lauren Kwei, and Peiton Bursh also performed. Each of their songs told a slightly different story about finding one’s identity and becoming an adult.

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Mansfield sang “You Say” (Paul Mabury/Lauren Ashley Daigle/Jason Ingram).

She was an audience favorite. On the other hand, Dade was another one of my favorite performers with “Ring of Keys” (Lisa Kron/Jeanine Tesori). Kwei had another Bareilles song, this time about toughening up, “Brave” (Jack Antonoff/Sara Bareilles). Bursh was also very good, singing “idontwannabeyouanymore” (Billie Eilish O’Connell/Finneas Bird O’Connell). The line “Tell the mirror what you know she’s heard before/I don’t wanna be you anymore” really struck me. The ensemble sang “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” (Alecia Moore/Michael Busbee) to cap off another excellent evening put together by Burke and Ardizzoni.

Chris Struck

Chris Struck's debut novel, Kennig and Gold, is due to be officially published in June 2019. He's written reviews for Cabaret Scenes since August of 2017. For more information about the writer, see StruckChris.com