Main | Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mimi Le Duck

Last night my theatre buddy David and I attended a preview of Mimi Le Duck, an off-Broadway musical starring Annie Golden (left) with a supporting appearance by the absolutely legendary Eartha Kitt. Mimi Le Duck, which got its start at the 2004 Fringe Festival, tells the story of a disaffected Idaho housewife who abandons her Mormon family and her job painting duck scenes for the QVC Channel to travel to Paris in search of her artistic muse, accompanied by the ghost of Ernest Hemmingway. In Paris she rents a room from fading "Paris Bird" torch singer Eartha Kitt, while befriending a transvestite oyster shucker. Got all that?

It was obvious that despite her smallish role, the audience was there to see Eartha Kitt. Kitt, who turns 80 in January, earned applause merely for appearing from behind a curtain in her first scene, during which the producers allow her to deliver her trademark throaty growl. David and I were concerned that Kitt might not be entirely ambulatory, as for her first two appearnces she was literally rolled onto the stage on a moving platform, but soon enough she was strutting, squating, hip-thrusting and showing her octegenarian gams in a gown slit thigh-high. Kitt was in amazing shape and lovely voice, there's none in the world like her. Despite not being the lead, Kitt was allowed the final bow. Her three numbers were my favorites in the show.

Annie Golden, whose voice reminds me very much of Debra Jo Rupp (the mom on That 70's Show) is a favorite of David's and we both agreed that she pretty much carried the show. The rest of the cast was solid enough, but we found some of the show a bit tedious, especially during the first act, during which I think I could actually hear David rolling his eyes. Still, I can recommend Mimi Le Duck, if for no other reason that it's worth sitting there for 2 hours just to hear three songs by uber-diva Eartha Kitt. Mimi Le Duck opens tonight at the New World Stages.

UPDATE: Proceed At Your Own Risk's Richard Rothstein's much less kind review is here.

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