Review: Everyday Rapture

Originally reviewed for

In many ways, Sherie Rene Scott’s Everyday Rapture is a glorified cabaret act — an eclectic selection of songs with more or less autobiographical patter in between, with Scott’s brassy humor and soprano on splendid display throughout. The accent, however, is definitely on the “glorified,” since Scott has brought in a crackerjack creative team (including American Idiot director Michael Mayer) and a full band for this show.

Everyday Rapture entwines spirituality and show biz.  It follows a young woman as she grows from a Mennonite to a Manhattanite, with many psychological and spiritual challenges on the way.  That woman is named Sherie Rene Scott, and is similar to, if not exactly identical with, the woman of the same name who plays her. Gay men, Judy Garland and two preachers named Fred all form major parts of the tapestry Scott weaves.

One of those Freds is Phelps, of “god hates fags” fame; apparently Sherie sang in a church choir with his daughter, only to wonder why she now screams instead of sings. The other Fred is Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame (yes, he was an ordained preacher); she does a medley of his songs, singing them slowly and reverently, beautifully drawing out the deep humanity underlying their deceptively simple word and melodies.

Scott and collaborator Dick Scanlan put all this and more into a smart and funny “book.” In the Off-Broadway run of this show, the end was marred by a bit of maudlin hand-wringing. The content of the end is largely the same for the Broadway version (perhaps a bit trimmed), but Scott plays it more simply and with more humor, which makes a big difference. The ending still feels like it could be tweaked, but there’s obviously been some smart clean-up done already.

One might be concerned that an intimate show like this would be swallowed up by the cavernous American Airlines Theatre, but that concern would be misplaced. Ms. Scott fills the space even better than some large cast shows that have passed through there. An earlier incarnation of this show was titled You May Now Worship Me and I think that’s an entirely appropriate attitude to take.

For tickets, click here.

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