Review: "Everyday Rapture"
Bottom line: Likable showcase.
When/Where: American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St.
Sherie Rene Scott's likable 'Everyday Rapture'
'Everyday Rapture" is an easygoing end to a frantic Broadway season. This is Sherie Rene Scott's likable 90-minute, semiautobiographical musical - an Off-Broadway hit last summer at Second Stage and now the Roundabout Theatre's last-minute savior after the revival of "Lips Together, Teeth Apart" crumbled with the abrupt departure of Megan Mullally.
Scott, who knowingly describes herself as "one of Broadway's biggest, brightest semi-stars," created the fabulous diva-squid in the otherwise forgettable "Little Mermaid" and more than held her own with scene stealers John Lithgow and Norbert Leo Butz in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels." She has a big, open voice, a pure yet naughty sense of herself as both child and woman, and a lush, sultry, goofy quality that's somewhere between a rag doll and a life-size latex blowup doll.
She certainly does have a story to tell, one about a half-Mennonite Kansas girl who has to choose between strict religion and show biz - or, as she puts it, between Jesus and Judy (as in Garland). She, co-author Dick Scanlan and director Michael Mayer ("American Idiot") have put together a good-natured, often witty confessional with songwriters as diverse as Tom Waits, Yip Harburg and, most usefully, Fred Rogers (of the ever-empowering "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood").
She tells her tale against a pinball galaxy sky and a five-piece band. She has two excellent backup women (Lindsay Mendez and Betsy Wolfe), and an endearingly humiliating scene with a teenage Sherie impersonator - the gifted and fearless young Eamon Foley - whom she befriends on YouTube. And she pays tribute to her favorite cousin, Jerome, who also loved Judy, was shunned by the church and died of AIDS.
She wears tight jeans and a vest, which make her look a bit like a croupier from a lesser casino. She does magic tricks, which she learned from her first lover in New York. She says she carries two notes in her pockets. One, "very Amish country," says, "I am a speck of dust." The other, "very Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn Heights," reads, "The world was created for me." She sort of struggles with the contradictory messages, but ends up on an anecdote about four-leaf clovers and raptures that happen every day.
In short, this is more than a placeholder, but somewhat less than a major new show.