I bet you’ve heard of Josephine Baker. I bet you know she was a popular and provocative songstress not quite 100 years ago. And I bet you know cabaret is usually exactly your kind of thing. If yes, Josephine, A burlesque cabaret dream play, won’t disappoint. Entering the theater, the stage is dressed as the timeless dressing room of a great lady performer, with a silk screen and hat racks, a small table and chair. Jazz music plays. Take your seat and enjoy this excellent tour of Josephine Baker’s life.
Tymisha Harris as Josephine Baker
Most of all, Tymisha Harris, the star of the show, proves herself supremely capable of carrying off this complex, choreographed, charming, sexy, one woman show. To be so competent at dancing, singing, acting and sass is quite a feat. In addition, the script is really quite phenomenal and Tymisha delivers it well. The tone of the script accurately conveys Ms. Josephine Baker’s hedonism without judgment and plenty of charm. The show highlights important moments in her life from winning her first dance concert up to her death in 1975.
Given the span her lifetime covers, the show must explore how her race impacted Ms. Baker. After an opening solo, Josephine takes us back to the Race Riots in St. Louis, when she started running for her life at the age of 11. Commentary about racism appears in the script when appropriate, like when Josephine returns to New York City from Paris before WWII. She goes from the culture of Paris, where she is treated as an equal to the Jim Crow era U.S., a place where she can’t buy a cup of coffee in the lobby of her own hotel. The biographic portrayal includes her appearance in Washington DC alongside Dr. King.
Be in This Audience!
Intermittently throughout the show, Josephine interacts with unseen characters out in the audience – including interacting with a couple of audience members (be careful about sitting in the front row). The costumes are excellent. The first performance sold out and ended with a standing ovation. Throughout the show, Josephine reminds us of her main problem in life – she says yes to everything. So seriously, do yourself a favor and say yes to this show. Buy your ticket now!