The song may say that “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” but the co-starring brunette was equally appealing as the blonde in this fantastic “In Concert” production put on by The Heritage Players of the Broadway musical which preceded the iconic Marilyn Monroe film.
“Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” is by far the most well-known song from the show, but other classics include “Bye, Bye, Birdie,” “I’m Just a Little Girl from Little Rock,” and, of course, the title number, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
Both ladies were phenomenally skilled singers. Moe’s voice was rich and sultry while Bohrer provided a shimmering vibrato that alluded to the divine Ms. M’s style.
Although the program was billed as a concert production, it was almost fully staged with actors, costumes, and sets. The notable concert-like moments were several instrumental interludes during which no stage action took place and the fact that the play’s chorus sang at the back of the stage from music folders (although still in costume!).
And, most telling of all, this concert production featured a truly top-notch orchestra under the baton of the very talented David Zajic who led his musicians with ease through tempo changes, surprising rests, jazz rhythms, and a difficult score. The orchestra is to be commended for their outstanding performance which rivaled a professional ensemble’s technique.
However, the actors were no less amazing in this delightfully zany romp through the Roaring Twenties. Maddie Bohrer starred as Lorelei, the role made famous by Marilyn Monroe, and Heather Moe starred as her best gal pal Dorothy which was Jane Russell’s film role.
Bohrer and Moe proved that opposites are complementary as Bohrer provided the sultry yet ditzy blonde moments while Moe brought the snappy and sassy brunette energy that made for a completely entertaining evening. And their singing voices! Both ladies were phenomenally skilled singers. Moe’s voice was rich and sultry while Bohrer provided a shimmering vibrato that alluded to the divine Ms. M’s style.
Their acting chops matched their singing. Moe particularly impressed me with her madcap facial expressions which were so reminiscent of 20’s film stars. Bohrer hit every comedic beat just right for her particularly ditzy moments and I appreciated that she made the role her own, which was very effective, instead of trying to imitate Marilyn’s well-known speech patterns.
This dynamic duo was ably supported by their wonderful co-stars. Beth Cohen as the frequently drunk Mrs. Spofford was a comedic delight. Her over the top drunken antics brought huge laughs time and again throughout the evening. But she was matched by Matt Wetzel as The Zipper King who used physical comedy to his full advantage, along with ridiculously shouted lines that provoked hysterical laughter every time he opened his mouth. Kudos to both actors for their outstanding performances!
Every additional supporting actor fully embodied their roles and made for a high-quality show that hit every beat just right. Combined with the amazing orchestra and lovely vintage costumes with simple but effective set design, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: In Concert” directed by Tommy Malek for The Heritage Players was a top-notch evening of entertainment and one which I would highly recommend if it had not sadly finished its run. I encourage readers to look for future productions from The Heritage Players because if this production is an indicator of their standards, their future shows will be well worth viewing.
The only sour note for the evening was the fact that certain audience members seated near me felt entitled to talk non-stop throughout the show and responded quite poorly to me asking them to be quiet.
Here are a few tips for our readers: when you’re at a live performance, the actors and musicians can hear everything from the stage, whispers included, and any talking or disruption is incredibly distracting to people who are pouring their heart and soul into their performance while trying to maintain their concentration and memory. Not only that, the other audience members would like to enjoy the show without distractions.
To sum up: if you can’t sit quietly in a public audience, don’t leave your living room.
Bravo to The Heritage Players’ cast and musicians for carrying on flawlessly despite some rudeness from their audience. Do check out their future productions now that “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: In Concert” has finished its run.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes with one intermission.
“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: In Concert” by The Heritage Players finished its run on March 1, 2020. For more information about upcoming productions, click here.