James Solomon Benn can sing. He can wail. He has a set of pipes and knows how to use them, from inspired gosplesque outpourings to whispered notes of passion—He. Can. Sing. Not only can he sing but his fellow cast members Sandy Lomax and Paul Nicely showed their vast vocal skills as well. I especially enjoyed when they sang together in perfect harmony, tone, phrasing, and dynamics. But the singing is only part of the story.
A Trip through Time
James was a self-professed fat, black, sissy in 1963, and he was a PK (preacher’s kid). His story is about his journey to self –realization. The show begins with a moving poem from Preacher C, which sets the stage, followed by Little Butchie and his cast, time travelling to 1963 and signing “Jesus Loves You” as little Butchie and friends, off key and all.
Black and Blue
As a Child, Little Butchie was a HIT (Homo in Training) it wasn’t until he left for college that he came out. Eventually, he wrote his father, the Preacher, a letter explaining who he was and who he loved. His father replied with a letter a few days later, but James was afraid to open it. After several days of staring at the unopened envelop he opened the letter.
His father began by saying no matter what, you are my son, and I love you. I will always love you, but he went on to tell James he was his father’s hero. I had tears in my eyes and so did everyone in the audience, including James when he shared with us why that statement proved to him it was the other way around. His father was James hero. He had taught James he couldn’t love anyone until he loved himself.
Only one Problem, It Ended too Soon!
There were jokes, and choreography, and heartfelt moments. Pianist Roger W. Smith was the perfect accompanist, laying low and supporting the singers, until he took the spotlight and raised the roof. Sandy soloing on Happy Talk, Paul singing brilliantly while garbed in black leather, the show went by too quickly.
Go for the song, the laughter, and a few surprises, but leave with the understanding that we all should know the answer for living in these troubling times. The answer is love.
Sun, Aug 21 9:00 pm
Tues, Aug 23 7:30 pm
Sat, Aug 27 9:00 pm
Sun, Aug 28 1:30 pm