By: Kassandra Escamilla, November 21, 2019
SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical, kicked of its North American Tour with an opening at the Hollywood Pantages Theater on November 5th, 2019. The Broadway musical has been well received and host to sold-out shows for the past 3 weeks. The bio broadway production will take to the Pantages stage for its last few Los Angeles performances before embarking on its next stop, San Francisco.
Directed by Des McAnuff and choreographed by Tony Award® winner Sergio Truji, the play charts the life of global music icon, Donna Summer, from her initial rise to stardom in gospel choir to becoming the “Queen of Disco.” Incorporated into her story are over twenty (20) of Summer’s hits including dancefloor classics: “Love to Love You Baby,” “Bad Girls” and “Hot Stuff.”
The 45- minute play reminds us of Summer’s legacy by telling her turbulent life story through her incredible resume of hits. Although the real Donna Summer died at age 63 of lung cancer in 2012, the play breathes life to her with three different actresses portraying her at various points in her life—as a child, teen, and eventually to the music industry veteran version the play labels “Diva Donna.”
Actresses—Dan’yelle Williamson, plays both Diva Donna and her mother Mary Gaines; Alex Hairston as “Disco Donna” and Olivia Elease Hardy as young Donna and her daughter, Mimi. These women are phenomenal powerhouse vocalists, particularly Williamson, who had the Pantages audience members “shook” with her exceptional singing performances.
Included in the cast are Steven Grant Douglas as “Bruce Sudano,” John Gardiner as “Neil Bogart,” and Erick Pinnick as “Andrew Gaines.” The ensemble comprises Jennifer Byrne, Jay Garcia, Tamrin Goldberg, Cameron Anika Hill, Brooke Lacy, Trish Lindström, Mara Lucas, Jo’Nathan Michael, DeQuina Moore, Kyli Rae, Crystal Sha’nae, De’Ja Simone, Sir Brock Warren, Candace J. Washington, Brittany Nicole Williams and Jennifer Wolfe. Fear the Walking Dead star, Colman Domingo, along with Robert Cary and Des McAnuff, wrote the book on this musical.
The song packed stage production has garnered praise from celebs such as - Cindy Crawford and Whoopi Goldberg. You can still catch Summer until Sunday, November 24th. The show is entertainment at its finest and captures all the excitement, joy, and flamboyance that the real-life Summer’s delivered on stage during her epic career.