Total Rating: 
October 23, 2013
October 25, 2013
February 1, 2014
Florida Studio Theater
Theater Type: 
Florida Studio Theater - Court Cabaret
Theater Address: 
Palm Avenue
Running Time: 
2 hrs, 15 min
Musical Revue
Conceived by Richard Hopkins & Jim Prosser with Rebecca Hopkins.
Dennis Courtney

Four women and a mellow male pianist bring us back to the singing, swaying, swinging and sweet-girls-to-sassy ladies Gal Groups from their high school days in the 1960s through to the revolutionary '70s into the '80s. They make the journey with style and syncopation.

After what seems to be an obligatory “Da Doo Ron Ron,” FST favorite (with good reason) Jannie Jones releases some of her power leading the group into “One Fine Day.” Soon they're passing through such teen favorites as “Lollipop” and the collegiate search for “Where the Boys Are.” Jannie gets hip with “Love is Like an Itching in My Heart” followed by Liz Power's fun definition of “Good Girls” leading into a full four treatment of “Leader of the Pack” and eventually the nice, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”

Act II has the four plunging vigorously into “The Shoop Shoop Song” followed by Susan Haefner's “Mairzy Doats” that recalls some of our silly times (but fun, too). Erin McGrath is central to a medley that includes the dances “Locomotion,” the Mashed Potato, “The Wah-Watusi” and “Hully Gully” ending in a “Land of a Thousand Dances.”

Susan, who seems a bit too mature in Act I, makes a better fit with the love song, “Son of a Preacher Man” here. “Color My World” shows the range that kept Liz at the Cabaret for months in a show that began last year and won her acclaim.

Sassy Erin shines telling her boyfriend “You Don't Own Me” and speaking up for the time women made it known they won't put up with control and their men cheating. “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” stresses that in spades.

Choreography and direction help accent the drama in the lyrics throughout. A sweet ending comes with such songs as “What the World Needs Now Is Love” and a medley about love. Jannie helps end with a vigorous “Natural Woman” that's almost gospel in musical quality and is as well articulated as a good actress can deliver. The whole show comes off as colorful as the quartet's shimmery costumes in bright primary hues accented by their backdrop and lighting.

From left, Erin McGrath, Susan Haefner, Jannie Jones and Liz Power star in the Florida Studio Theatre Cabaret show "The Prima Donnettes." MARIA LYLE PHOTO/FST

Susan Haefner, Jannie Jones,Erin McGrath, Liz Power
Music Dir: Jeffrey Campos; Costumes: Susan Angermann; Lighting: Kate DeWall; Sound: John Valines; Stage Mgr: Aaron Watson
Marie J. Kilker
Date Reviewed: 
October 2013