The Randy Andys: The Randy Andys at Don’t Tell Mama

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The Randy Andys

The Randy Andys at Don’t Tell Mama

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, September 18, 2021

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Randy Andys

You’ve spent time with Forever Plaid. You’ve marveled at The Marvelous Wonderettes. Now you can meet The Randy Andys, three attractive young ladies given to singing contemporary songs in 1940s doo-wop style. The group took its name as it’s being a friskier version of The Andrews Sisters. Or maybe because two of them dated men named Andy and one a guy named Randy.

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They aren’t clear on that point, or on several others as well. They do have a story to tell; unfortunately, the tale is told only about two thirds of the way through the show which gives little time for development. Nor are the members’ personalities very well distinguished beyond one of the three being a Southerner and another being perhaps a bit more sexually aggressive.

None of this vagueness takes away from the impressive musical talents of the three performers on stage or from their effusive personalities. Joy Del Valle (Louella), Sarah Pothier (Bev), and Jocelyn Longquist (Jojo) all possess powerful voices and a great deal of charm. The routines, directed by Antionette DiPietropolo and choreographed by Gina Daugherty, involve exacting close harmony (arrangements by Adrien Ries in collaboration with music director Darnell White) and precise movements. Some numbers were gleefully happy (a mash-up of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” and “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”). Others are impishly suggestive (“Big Ten Inch Record” and “Can’t Keep My Hands to Myself”). A few were just weird (a nightmarish “Mr. Postman” and a creepy “Jeepers Creepers”).

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The last two became more coherent once the big secret was revealed, but perhaps that came a bit too late. Throughout, pianist Matt Everingham provided fine musical support.

In the middle of the program a special guest was welcomed to the stage, and she was very welcome indeed. Roslyn Seale possesses a powerhouse voice and a joyful stage presence. Taking on “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” she started it low and slow, really digging into the lyrics. She then built it and built it to diva levels. She followed that with a sexy rendition of “Juice” with the Randy Andys serving as back-up singers.

Then the girl group took back the stage. While the tight routines began as impressive, the repetition of style began to be stifling. And then, suddenly, things relaxed, and the three women gathered together on stools and offered up relaxed and subtly emotional versions of “Here You Come Again” and “Thank You for Being a Friend,” which allowed so much more air into the room. The entire evening was filled with talent and great ideas; still it’s just that some reorganization and clarity would add so much to the fun.

Bart Greenberg

Bart Greenberg first discovered cabaret a few weeks after arriving in New York City by seeing Julie Wilson and William Roy performing Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter outdoors at Rockefeller Center. It was instant love for both Ms. Wilson and the art form. Some years later, he was given the opportunity to create his own series of cabaret shows while working at Tower Records. "Any Wednesday" was born, a weekly half-hour performance by a singer promoting a new CD release. Ann Hampton Callaway launched the series. When Tower shut down, Bart was lucky to move the program across the street to Barnes & Noble, where it thrived under the generous support of the company. The series received both The MAC Board of Directors Award and The Bistro Award. Some of the performers who took part in "Any Wednesday" include Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, Tony Desare, Andrea Marcovicci, Carole Bufford, the Karens, Akers, Mason and Oberlin, and Julie Wilson. Privately, Greenberg is happily married to writer/photographer Mark Wallis, who as a performance artist in his native England gathered a major following as "I Am Cereal Killer."