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Rhumbelow LOSS Series (lockdown online streaming shows)
Tonya Koenderman at the Rhumbelow Theatre.
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The music and life of Lisa Minnelli. The show tells the story of Liza’s life – her close relationship with her father, her struggle to conquer drug and alcohol abuse, her many relationships, and of the influence her mother Judy Garland had over her. But mainly the show pays tribute to the songs Liza made famous: Cabaret, Mein Herr, Maybe this Time, Money Money, New York, New York, and many more.
Had a dreadful show last night. It didn’t help that my botox was nearly worn off, and I’m squeezed into a size seven shoe. Eight just makes my feet look enormous.” Thus begins the diary of our anti-heroine diva, played by Tonya Koenderman.
Of course, what is a Diva without music? The story is interspersed with a repertoire of diva-appropriate songs: I’m a Woman from Smokey Joe’s Café, Le Jazz Hot from Victor Victoria, I Who Have Nothing by Shirley Bassey, It Was a Very Good Year by Frank Sinatra, Mack the Knife, and The Blues in the Night to name but a few.
The year is 1935, and the music is Jazz! Names such as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Duke Ellington rule the music scene. These were strange times indeed: America was still very racially divided, but Jazz appealed to both black and white.
The likes of Louis Armstrong even got to sit in white only restaurants as well as gain access to the upper echelons of American society because of his abundant talent and charm. Such was the power of this vibrant new style of music they called “Jazz”. This did not sit well with his fellow African Americans, however, who regarded him as an “Uncle Tom”, seemingly participating in the oppression of his own group.