Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WLS Review: "Queen Bea: A Soapsical!"

A long-running show is on the verge of  cancellation.  An aging soap diva is panicked by rumors she is about to get fired.  An unemployed actor returns to the show where his character was “killed” decades earlier in a desperate attempt to raise ratings. 

No, this is not the front page of Daytime Confidential. These are the circumstances in which we find the cast of the fictional soap SPEAK LOW IF YOU SPEAK LOVE in the hysterically funny musical "Queen Bea: A Soapsical."

Beth Ann Bonner [ex-ONE LIFE TO LIVE, ex-GUIDING LIGHT, ex-ALL MY CHILDREN] leads this multi-talented cast including Bree Williamson [ONE LIFE TO LIVE], Jason Tam [ONE LIFE TO LIVE], and Chris Stack [ex-ONE LIFE TO LIVE].  Bonner portrays “Queen Bea”, the popular starlet who has made her career from being a daytime soap fan favorite.  When confronted with the possibility of being fired from her own show, she resiliently concludes that this could be the very push she needs to pursue her passion as a writer.  The only problem is, the show has no intention of letting her go, and in fact needs her to stay in order to avoid cancellation.  What is an unappreciated misunderstood diva to do?

What follows from this premise is a series of delightful incidents and accidents involving Bea’s “back-from-the-dead” co-star Benji [Stack], her on-screen long-lost son Claude [Tam], and the novice she grooms to take her place [Williamson].  Through witty dialogue and sharp song lyrics the drama unfolds, and the audience is given an amusing glimpse into the backstage shenanigans at a struggling daytime drama.

Bonner is wonderfully able to capture the ambivalence experienced by a woman who is ready to take an exciting step forward in her life, while feeling weighted down by the safety of her long-held job.  Bree Williamson sparkles in her role of a sheltered executive producer’s daughter who is affected once she is offered her first glimpse of stardom.  Chris Stack surprises by displaying more dimensions and range in his acting and singing than Michael McBain could ever dream.  And finally, Jason Tam’s singing and acting skills simply awe, leaving the audience to ponder why this young man’s accomplished talents are woefully under utilized on daytime. 

Here is the S.A.S.S. [Short Attention Soap Summary]

WHAT:  "Queen Bea: Soapsical!," with book and lyrics cleverly written by Gena Oppenheim and music and lyrics by Daniel Lincoln, on one night only: Saturday, February 13th, 7 p.m., at the Lauree Beechman Theater at 407 West 42nd Street.

You will get an amusing and unforgettable glimpse into the secret backstage happenings at a struggling daytime show on the verge of cancellation.  But it’s fictional.  Really. The program says so. 

Anyone who enjoys off-camera antics on daytime soaps, clever song lyrics, and sophisticated satire, needs to pay ode to the Queen. 

VERDICT: Through rain, sleet, or hail, do NOT miss the one-night only performance! It is general admission seating, and you could end up right next to you favorite ONE LIFE TO LIVE star in the audience.  I was able to sit next to Heather Tom and meet Patricia Elliott, so call 212.695.6909 to reserve your ticket now! 

Damon L. Jacobs is a Marriage Family Therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve". He is re-imagining a world without "shoulds" at

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