The Black Rep presented Le Freak C'est Chic as part of their Sunday concert series this past weekend (April 1, 2012), and it's an interesting mix of dance, music, and incredible vocalizations that was thoroughly entertaining and as sexy as advertised. The show gave St. Louis an opportunity to see some of the finer singers, dancers, and musicians, that this town has to offer, and thankfully, they were greeted with a very warm reception. The production basically takes us on a tour through Cabaret to Funk, and then on to Rock Star, and gives everyone involved a chance to show off their various skills.
Though probably the least effective of the three parts, Cabaret does have a high point with a sizzling performance of “Fever” by Janessa Morgan. The number also seemed to heat things up at bit, as well as loosen up the band and dancers. The second, Funk, set was the most effective, with luscious versions of “Inside My Love” (with impossibly high soprano part easily aced by Janessa), Love 2 Love Hangover, Brick House, and Lady Marmalade. Leah Stewart brought the house down with a high octane rendition of “Rock Steady”. The third set featured the dancers the most, and a smoldering run through “Darlin' Nikki” was a hot highlight. The backup singers, Domonique Milam, Tyler White, and Alexis White also shined on a number of Michael Jackson tunes to open the act. The finale brought everyone back for “Le Freak”.
The dancers, Heather Beal, Brooke Boyd, Nioshi Burchfield, Alicia Dupry, Aiesha Dukes, Marika Jones, Kelsey Pannullo, LaAsia Smith, and Nicole Thomas, all do strong work for a solid 70 minutes or so of entertaining action. Their backed by a good band that kept the groove up and funky: Alerica Anderson (Musical Director), Jeff Anderson (sax), James Belk (percussion), D.J. Collier (bass), Craig Florez (guitar), Keith Fowler (drums), and Montra Mumphard (percussion).
Heather Beals directs and keeps things moving along briskly through the second and third set, but the first is just a slight bit slower paced, and it hold back the dancers and band a bit. Beal choreographs along with Alicia Depry, Marika Jones, Nicole Thomas, Anthony Williams, and Keith Tyrone Williams, and all of it admirable for the athletic workout the girls are put through.
Le Freak C'est Chic was a fun and funky trip through time, with it's fair share of truly joyous and transcendent moments.