I was greeted in the Metropolitan Room's lobby by the graceful Joanne Camilleri-Furshpan, owner Bernie's wife, and ushered in by her. I love her gentle accent! It was the first time we met in person.
Lead vocalist Denise Spann-Morgan later appeared on-stage in a sparkling beige, sleeveless gown between her back-up "Marvelos" Marvelettes (who sometimes got a chance to also snag the lead), the magnificent Annette Bland McCoy and LaRita Gaskin. Ms McCoy wasn't coy at all, it turned out, when she bitched that the stage lighting was making her sweat too much under her wig. She quickly removed it, revealing her real hair pulled back into a bun, walked out into the audience and put it on the head of yours truly!
On a scale of 1 to 100, this show was 110. The packed house was joyously jubilant in its wild enjoyment. Not only is Ms Morgan a powerhouse belter of a singer, but she is a hilarious raconteur and monologist; as raw and raunchy as any diva working today, putting Ms Midler to shame.
The song set included Baby Washington's "That's How Dreams Are Made" and Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness," both expertly interpreted. A perky "Beechwood 45789," "Too Many Fish in the Sea" and "Don't Mess with Bill" rounded out the night to lots of audience clapping along, applause and bopping around in our seats; even getting to our feet to dance a little.
The "Marvelous" Marvelettes blew the roof off Metropolitan Room and the Metropolitan Room loved every minute of it, it seemed. My friend Nick Lion and I had to later go for a couple of cocktails at The Monster just to recover from our cabaret experience, and to rave -- and share photos -- with everybody about what we'd just seen. Truly, The Marvelettes are one of the best-loved girl-groups of all time. Denise even told her audience that they were Motown's #1 girl group; not The Supremes. Motown's dirty little secret! Hallelujah and amen from your little old yenta, me!
This was the first night of The "Marvelous" Marvelettes' residency at Metropolitan Room. It was also Denise's birthday, by the way. The diva was thrown a little surprise party when the audience sang The Birthday Song and the club served cake to all. An extremely touching moment, especially for our star.
I'll be back for the next "Marvelous" Marvelettes show for sure. http://metropolitanroom.com/enhancedCalendar.cfm