Bayou City Concert Musicals returns with ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’
by Donalevan Maines • Photo by Dalton DeHart
In a world where diamonds are a girl’s best friend—and I don’t mean rhinestones!—are women really the weaker sex, or are men hopelessly controlled by them?
That’s the question director Paul Hope poses in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, this year’s song and dance extravaganza from Bayou City Concert Musicals (BCCM).
“Oh my God, I didn’t hear that,” says Sylvia Froman, who is cast as Lady Beekman. “Sexual politics? I’m just going to be simple and enjoy the dances!”
Among the frisky dances and ballets is a lively production number with athletes on the American Olympic team aboard a 1920s cruise ship to Europe. “I make sure the boys are in little running shorts and tank tops,” Hope floats.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is the 1949 musical that launched Carol Channing to instant stardom as Lorelei Lee. Her flapper gold-digger (created by author Anita Loos) was the original Material Girl, played in the 1953 movie version by Marilyn Monroe, then reprised by Madonna in the 1985 video.
When the show opened on Broadway, The New York Times theater critic Brooks Atkinson crowed, “Happy days are here again. Every part of it is alive and abundantly entertaining.”
Hope notes that “the really fun Jule Styne score” introduced such popular songs as “Bye, Bye Baby,” the funny autobiographical ballad “A Little Girl from Little Rock,” and “I Love What I’m Doing (When I’m Doing It for Love).”
Carolyn Johnson stars as blonde Lorelei, with Krissy Richmond as brunette Dorothy. “With Lorelei, everything has a price tag on it,” says Hope, “but Dorothy is just the opposite. She is just looking for love and, ironically, she finds it.” Richmond also choreographs the show, with Art Yelton as musical director and Dominique Royem conducting.
Male stars include Jamie Geiger, Jimmy Phillips, Charlie Bailey, and handsome Kelly Burnett, who played Brad in last season’s The Rocky Horror Show at the University of Houston.
There will be only five performances of the staged concert version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Thursday, Sept. 9 through Sunday, Sept. 12, at the Heinen Theatre, 3517 Austin at Holman, in Midtown.
Hope adds, “No one has seen Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in Houston since the early 1960s, when it starred the late Katherine Blissard as Lorelei and TV personality Warner Roberts as Dorothy, at Theatre, Inc.”
Performance times are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available online at bayoucityconcertmusicals.org or by calling 713/465-6484. Single tickets are priced at $25 to $35 and senior rates are $20 to $28. Student tickets are $15.
Donalevan Maines also writes about the Emmys in this issue of OutSmart magazine.