Review #1: Boots, Class & Sass at The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC

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Yee-Haw! Saddle up and come see the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC’s (GMCW) ‘Boots, Class & Sass at the Lincoln Theatre. Fortunately there are three performance left next weekend, so you’ll have your chance to mozey over to catch The Cowboys in all their glory, their colorful flannels, and their shiny, and colorful boots.

Photo courtesy of Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC.
Photo courtesy of Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC.

Patrick McIntyre reminded the audience that it’s 35 years since the inception of GMCW, and that “we have come so far,” as he and others crooned “I’m On My Way” from the musical Paint Your Wagon. Behind him was a screen that showed some of the most famous hunky cowboy film stars  (and some not so hunky) including John Wayne (in his famous drunken fall off the horse scene in his Oscar-winning performance in True Grit) to Roy Rogers, Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger), Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Clint Eastwood (in his many spaghetti Westerns), and my favorite – Alex Karris knocking a horse out in Blazing Saddles (that scene is still outrageous many moons after the movie debuted. I still feel bad for that horse!). It was a great way to get the audience in a cowboy mood and the laughs and cheers rang out in the theater as their personal cowboy favorites appeared on the screen.

In 2012, The DC Cowboys rode out into the sunset, but last night they were greeted with cheers and many “OOh-AAhs!” as they returned to the stage with Big and Rich’s “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” “Lookin’ For a Good Time” by Gary Burr, Hillary Scott, and Victoria Shaw), and were later joined by the Chorus in performing “The Aggie Song” by Carol Hall from her musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. These pliable cowboys can move and shimmy across the stage and the audience was thrilled by their resurrection…looks, and moves.

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The full force of the Gay Men’s Chorus was heard in a country-western medley of three Johnny Cash hits “I Walk the Line,” “Ring of Fire,” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” the beautiful “All American Boy” by Steve Grand with a beautiful arrangement by Eric Knechtges, filled with many beautiful harmonies, and ‘Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys, with a nice solo by Robert T. Boaz, whose gorgeous voice was heard in other solos throughout the concert.

Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” was given some gorgeous singing by Cory Claussenm Kia Suban, Kevin Thomason, and Rick Yarborough as was “Home on the Range” by the the Rock Creek Singers. Lyle Lovett’s “Bears” featured a fun performance by Eric Peterson.

But the two performances that brought the most smiles to my chubby cheeks were delivered by the young singers of the GenOut Chorus, who delivered an emotional “I Was Here” by Gary Burr, Hillary Scott, and Victoria Shaw. Although it didn’t exemplify the Cowboy theme of the concert, it did deliver a powerful and ‘lump in the throat’ message. And I was so glad that these young singers were there.

And the most fun of the first act was the dancing and pure joy that shone on the faces of the dancers high-kickin’ their way through Andy Grammer and Molan Sipe’s “Honey, I’m Good.” And these cowboys were really, really good! It was a great way to send the audience to the lobby for intermission.

When the Chorus is at full force and harmonizing-it’s one of the wonders of the world and they accomplished that while performing “Seven Bridges Road” by Stephen T. Young and Arranged by Kirby Shaw. This was my favorite singing by the Chorus during this performance and it was powerful and showed off the immense amount of vocal talent of this extraordinary chorus.

The loudest applause occurred after the performance of The Traditional “Down to the River to Pray.” It was spine-tingling listening to Kevin Thompson’s beautiful solo and listening to the audience chime in as the lyrics were posted on the screen.

Potomac Fever, lead by soloist Robert T. Boaz performed “Me and You,” followed by a series of songs performed with and by the Chorus. Dolly Parton’s “Traveli’ Thru” featured a solo by Rob Finn. Marcus Hummon and Martie Seidel’s “Cowboy Take Me Away” featured gorgeous harmonies from Jarrod Bennett, Sam Brinton, and Calvin Robinson.

The entire chorus got to show their vocal chops with the stirring “Feels Like Today” by Wayne Hector and Steve Robson, and the audience could feel the joy the singers were emitting while performing it.

Robert T. Boaz returned with Shawn Morris in a poignant rendition of Reba McEntire’s “Does He Love You Like He Loves Me.”

And then cowgirl and Artistic Director Dr. Thea Kano lead the Gay Men’s Chorus of DC in the rousing “We Shall Be Free” by Stephanie Davis and Garth Brooks and the very patriotic “God Bless the USA” to close this Yippee-Ki-Yay concert.

Special kudos to Choreographers Craig Cipollini and James Elizy, Accompanist Theodore Guerrant on piano, Shawn Alger on bass, and drummer Anders Eliasson and to the incredible ‘Cowboy Band’ of Michael “Tumbleweed” Gottlieb (piano and Band Leader), Thomas “Slim” Cox on bass, Brenda “Lefty” Bailes on slide guitar, Tom “Big Red” Nichols on guitar, Mark “Blackjack” Casale on Mandolin, Chase “Woody” Maggiano on Violin/Fiddle, and Jarrod “Buster” Bennett on Harmonica.

And I loved the costumes by Tony Prestridge, and Michael B. Smith’s videos which added ambiance to the concert. And a special thank you to Dr. Thea Kano who has brought so much fun to The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC. Your joy and love for music and this Chorus is infectious.

So mozy on over down to The Lincoln Theatre and enjoy these talented cowboys next weekend! Yee-Haw!

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Boots, Class & Sass continues its run on March 19, 2016 at 3:00 PM (ASL)
March 19, 2016 at 8:00 PM, and March 20, 2016 at 3:00 PM (ASL), at Lincoln Theatre -1215 U Street NW, in Washington, DC.

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For tickets, call the box office at 1-877-435-9849, purchase them in person at the 9:30 Club box office – 815 V Street, NWfrom 12-7 PM on Monday through Friday, for ASL or wheelchair seating, call (202) 293-1548, or purchase your tickets online

LINKS:

Review #1 of ‘Boots, Class & Sass’ at The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC by Joel Markowitz on DCMetroTheaterArts.

Review #2 of ‘Boots, Class & Sass’ at The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC by Joel Markowitz on DCMetroTheaterArts.

A Thank You to GMCW: The Energy and Commitment of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC by David Friscic.

Review: ‘The Way We Were’ at The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC by David Friscic.

Interview: Jay Gilliam on The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC’s ‘The Way We Were’ at Atlas on 2/12 & 13 by Joel Markowitz.

Interview: Tim Gillham on The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC’s ‘The Way We Were’ at Atlas on 2/12 & 13 by Joel Markowitz.

Interview: Jarrod Bennett on The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC’s ‘The Way We Were’ at Atlas on 2/12 & 13 by Joel Markowitz.

Review: ‘The S* Show’ at Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC (GMCW) at Atlas by Michael Poandl. 

Interview: Meet Soloist Paul Negron of The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s ‘The S Show Playing This Saturday at 5 & 8 PM at Atlas by Joel Markowitz.

Interview: Meet Soloist JJ Vera of The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s ‘The ‘S Show Playing This Saturday at 5 & 8 PM at Atlas by Joel Markowitz.

Review: ‘Born This Way’ at The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC by David Friscic.

Review: ‘When You Wish’ at Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC by David Friscic.

Review: ‘Love Rocks!’ at The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington by David Friscic.

Review: ‘Rockin’ the Holidays’ at The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC by David Friscic.

Review: ‘Love Stinks!’ at The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC by John Stoltenberg.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.