|Photo credit: Jeremy Daniel|
The talented Carolee Carmello plays evangelist preacher Aimee Semple McPherson from a teenager through her rise to fame in Hollywood in the 1920s until the end of her life. This makes it difficult to follow the story as it's often hard to tell how old she is supposed to be. Kathie Lee Gifford's book goes through the story of her life chronologically without much dramatic tension. As nice as it is to see Carmello in a leading role, being on stage for almost all of the shows nearly three hour running time seems to already be taking its toll (the last two previews were canceled so she could go on vocal rest), which isn't fair to her. The rest of the actors (including George Hearn) are wasted with how little they are given to do with the possible exception of Roz Ryan, who gives us some brief and very welcome comic relief as Aimee's friend and former madam Emma Jo Schaeffer.
Kathie Lee Gifford's lyrics are very simplistic and the music by David Pomeranz and David Friedman is not bad, but it's very generic. Lorin Latarro's choreography is paint-by-numbers. The show is having a tough enough time--the canceled performances, the low grosses and attendance--without dumping on it some more. The kind thing to do might just be to call it a day and this one and let everyone move on.