Bop And Dance With Your Gal Pals At 'Girls Night'

By Dana Casadei

Girls nights are a time to get together with your best gals, chat and probably have a few drinks. For the City Theatre, "Girls Night: The Musical" has all of those things, plus karaoke. So go get a drink - this is highly encouraged - and get settled in for a night with your besties. After all, what happens at girls night stays at girls night.

The Sonya Carter-directed show will have you up and moving before the entire cast is even on stage, clapping along to hits like "It's Raining Men." But before we get to the good stuff, let's just rip off the Band-Aid and get to the not so great.

One slight - OK, kind of big issue with the show - is the fact that the plot is about as thin as a piece of Saran Wrap. Louise Roche's script, along with her characters most of the time, has no real depth. There's nothing to really grab on to, but I'll tell you about it anyway.

After being dead for 22 years - she fell off a moped - Sharon (Shelby Garrett, who is hilarious) greets the audience in all her angel glory. She tells us that her daughter Candy Rose, who we never actually meet, has just gotten engaged. In honor of her engagement, Sharon's four dearest friends, who all became adoptive mothers to Candy, decide to meet at a karaoke bar to celebrate.

I'm going to repeat it again, we never actually see or hear Candy Rose. Can you say plot holes?

Sharon then introduces us to Anita (Leslie McQueen), Liza (Sarah McShane), Kate (Melanie Dusel) and Carol (Erin Baltsar). What follows is two hours of these women discussing the past, dealing with the present, and trying to figure out what they want for their future. It's a cute idea for a musical, but I just wanted more out of it. I wanted to meet Candy Rose and see how she acted around these four women.

Even though the plot is pretty rough, the show has a few nice emotional moments, some conversations that feel unbelievably honest (while a few will come across rather crass), and a couple of solid laughs.

The characters, on the other hand, are basically all stereotypes you'd be likely to find in an early '90s rom-com, expect there's no dumb jock. There's wild party-girl Carol; her younger, goody-two shoes sister Kate; Liza, who married for money and has some serious daddy issues; Anita, who's a little quirky; and then there's Sharon, the "nice" girl who's no angel. I will give the cast this, though: They sure commit to their characters!

As for the musical aspect of the show, it's all sung karaoke style, really corny choreography included. The cues before the songs are a little choppy as well.

Thankfully, what the show lacks in depth, it makes up for in the fact that all five of the actresses have fantastic pipes. The five-part harmonies are divine, and McQueen is amazing, especially during "The Love of My Man," which will make you want to shout "Sing it, girl!" Side note: I've never actually done that during a show, but totally encourage it during this one.

All of the women - and the very few men - during last night's show seemed to have a grand time, bopping along to the songs and clapping their hands. At one point, a lady in the front row got up and started dancing, only to have a large portion of the audience follow along with her. For most of the people in the audience, the plot holes and one-dimensional characters didn't matter; they were there to have one heck of a night. And that's half the battle to getting an audience in seats, isn't it?


'Girls Night: The Musical'

Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. 8 p.m. Jan. 10, 11, 15-18, and 3 p.m. Jan. 12, 18-19. 2 hours. $38. 313-471-6611.



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