Saturday night, my husband, one of our buddies (the best locksmith in the Nashville area – if you don”t shamelessly promote your buddies, who will?), and I took in a show at Badgett Playhouse Theater in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.
Even though I had possibly the worst headache in all the world, eclipsed only by a ridiculously stiff and painful neck, I was VERY excited to be there. I knew the show would be phenomenal because Grand Rivers Variety shows are always extra, extra, extra special. As I sat there, wondering how many capsules of Ibuprofen would constitute “too many,” I tried to remember the last time we saw a show at Badgett Playhouse.
TOO DANG LONG is the answer I came up with.
During the winter months, what with Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries, I pretty much live in the kitchen. I don’t wander far from the oven between November and March.
Maybe that explains the headache. My body was confused by the surroundings.
By the end of the evening, I told myself that I’d never allow three months to pass between shows again. These shows are always so hilarious, fun, and engaging a person would be a fool not to see as many as they possibly could in a year. I’m always stupefied by the talent in Grand Rivers Variety shows. The singing, dancing, drama, comedy, sets, and costumes (made by the amazingly talented Sara Minihan) never fail to leave me asking one question, “How in the world are these incredibly talented people not playing to audiences in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry?”
Each time I come to the same conclusion, “Just be glad we have them HERE right now.”
I’ve said it before, but it bear’s repeating – my husband and I have been to countless shows in Nashville. We’ve had the pleasure of seeing the hottest stars in Country music today as well as the stars of yesterday. I only bring this up to qualify myself to say this: The quality of talent in Grand Rivers Variety is on par with the talent in Nashville shows. Yes, even shows at the Grand Ole Opry and The Ryman Auditorium.
But the seats are ever so much more comfortable.
The ridiculous talent we’ve come to expect was certainly on display last night.
[notification type=”standard”]From Grand Rivers Variety:
A Tribute To The Legendary Ladies Of Nashville! Join three very different ladies as they pursue one common goal… the elusive dream of fame and fortune on Music Row in Nashville. Along the way, these Sweethearts pay tribute to the ladies of country music that have gone on before them; Dolly, Loretta, Tammy and many, many more.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office toll free at 1-888-362-4223. Box office hours are 12-5 Tuesday through Thursday and 12-7 Friday through Saturday.
Show times for 2012 are as follows: Evening performances start at 7:00 PM CST and matinees are 2:00 PM CST. Doors open thirty minutes before each performance. [/notification]
When writing a review for a show with a cast of more than 5 people, I get a little antsy. I never want to leave anyone out or throw more compliments in one direction than I do in another. There are absolutely no weak links when it comes to Grand Rivers Variety. For example, the band is always outstanding. Each member makes magic with his musical instrument. I could literally listen to the band for hours on end.
The talented band members are:
- Scot Durham, piano and vocals
- Eddie Holland, bass
- Chad Mullins, banjo, guitar, and vocals
- Thomas Michael, guitar and vocals
There were a few other band members in the back who were also outstanding. The drummer absolutely tore it up and the gentleman on the steel guitar added so much to the show I wondered how any shows got along without him. The entire band is simply awesome and, again, leave me wondering how we can be so lucky to have them in our own backyard. As I said before though, I’m not going to question it, I”m just going to enjoy the heck out of it.
Scot, Chad, and Thomas sang during The Sweethearts of Country Music and flat out blew everyone away. Mr. Mullins had over half of the female audience swooning. I thought one lady was going to pass out. During intermission, the women behind me talked of nothing else. One said she could listen to him sing all day long, while the other quickly agreed.
I’m pretty sure the next sound I heard back there was the ladies fanning themselves off.
Two other names I’m anxious to mention are Steve Sherling and Barry Jobe. These two took what would have already been an great show and made is a Must See show. Steve, along with another of Grand Rivers Variety’s wickedly funny hams, Bill Minihan, makes all of the Greater Tuna shows such side splitters. As soon as Steve shows up on the scene, my funny bone surrenders. I take one look at whatever character he’s embodying and just die laughing. His character in this show is no exception. He’s a riot and a half.
His partner in hilarity during this particular show caught me off guard. I know Barry Jobe as one of the singers. He has an absolutely wonderful voice and, like his co-stars, a very powerful stage presence. I had no idea he was as big a ham as anyone! He did an excellent job as the narrator of the show, sang beautifully as always, and positively brought down the house with a character (choreographer) he played. I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. I guarantee you this, the entire time he was prancing onstage, I forgot my headache existed. When he sashayed off stage, I thought, “Oh, that boy’s not right!”
And I loved it!
Now, for the ladies. The three beautiful girls who star in this show are Tiffany Okerson, Stephanie Jo Newton, and Owensboro’s own Natasha Neely. When they stepped onto the stage, I thought, “I didn’t know Charlie’s Angels were in town. Cool.” The beautiful trio, however, have a lot more going on for them than looks, but not a one of them was shortchanged in this particular department. Their personalities were larger than life and each had a commanding stage presence that just dared you to look away. Their dancing skills would make anyone jealous (especially those of us who are the proud owners of not one, but two left feet) and their voices were nothing short of beautiful.
Each time one of the girls sang, I thought, “I’m in love with her voice.” I kept falling in love so many times I thought I was Taylor Swift. The only difference, I never fell out of love with any of their voices.
Grand Rivers Variety had a stroke of genius when they cast these particular girls together as The Sweethearts of Country Music. Not only are they beautifully talented and beautifully beautiful, they compliment each other in a way show producers dream of. Each girl’s voice is distinctive and each one brings her own special quality and presence to the show. Their comedic timing was also impeccable, which is just another way of saying they’ll make you laugh out loud so much you might even snort.
A few of my favorite songs from the night (though I honestly enjoyed all of them immensely):
- Barry Jobe and Natasha Neely’s Duet I Told You So
- Stephanie Jo Newton and Thomas Michael’s Island in the Stream
- Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad by Tiffany Okerson
- I’m a Woman by the girls
- I’m Gonna Miss Her by Chad Mullins
Some of the other songs you’ll enjoy in The Sweethearts of Country Music show are:
- Stand By Your Man (Tiffany)
- Coat of Many Colors (Natasha)
- Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
- Coal Miner’s Daughter (Stephanie)
- Golden Ring (Tiffany/Chad)
The songs in the show are a perfect blend of old classics and new favorites. I guarantee that you’ll find yourself singing along, clapping, smiling, laughing, and even doing a little seat dancing. I did all the above with the headache from hell, so imagine how you’ll roll if you’re on top of your game.
In addition to the singing, dancing, and laugh-out-loud comedy, there are quite a few wonderful film clips. You’ll enjoy interviews with Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn as well as glimpses into their lives and things they had to go through to become household names. There are also a few surprises in these film clips that’ll leave you laughing so hard you’ll have to set your popcorn and drink on the floor. Well, that or spill it all over yourself – a Greater Tuna show did that to me one time – and it was coffee! Now I know…. when Steve, Bill, or Barry (who now comes with a “spilled drink warning label” as well) show up, the drink must go on the floor before it goes all over Joi.
You’ve heard of Live and Learn? Well with Grand Rivers Variety, it’s Laugh and Learn.
If an evening (or afternoon) filled with laughing, clapping, singing, and pure good old-fashioned entertainment sounds good to you (and, seriously, how could it not?), I strongly urge you to buy your tickets for The Sweethearts of Country Music today.
Grand Rivers Variety’s Sweethearts of Country Music will be shown on the following dates: (UPDATED FOR April 2013!)
- April 6, 2013 – 7:00pm
- April 12, 2013 – 2:00pm
- April 13, 2013 – 7:00pm
- April 20, 2013 – 2:00pm
If you choose one of the 2:00 shows, you can enjoy the singing & dancing, then you, yourself, can dance across the street for supper at the famous Patty’s 1880’s Settlement Restaurant!
For more information about this wonderful show as well as the other wonderful shows at Grand Rivers Variety, please visit their website.
More Grand Rivers Variety Reviews & News on Genuine Kentucky:
- The Outlaws of Country Music at Grand Rivers Variety
- The Sweethearts of Country Music at Grand Rivers Variety
- Red, White, and Tuna: You’ll Laugh Until You Cry!
- Always, Patsy Cline: Back By Popular Demand
- Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Musical at Grand Rivers Variety
- Variety! Music, Memories, and More Christmas Spectacular Review
- The Fabulous 50’s Show at Grand Rivers Variety
- The Big Band Show at Grand Rivers Variety
- Greater Tuna is Back in Grand Rivers and All Is Right in My World
- It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at Grand Rivers Variety
- A Tuna Christmas in Grand Rivers: Sign Me Up!