Glam O Rama Reviews and Props From Maggie Rosa and Erika Hansen

From Maggie Rosa-
Gloucester has many treasures –  two of them were celebrated in a unique way this past weekend as vital contributors to the vibrancy of Gloucester’s downtown.

At the invitation of Kathy Slifer and Jan Bell, maestro and treasure RIchard Leonard staged one of his renowned Bananarettes shows in our treasured City Hall as a fundraiser for the restoration of CIty Hall.  During the two shows, one on Saturday evening and one on Sunday afternoon, the genius of Leonard to excite and tantalize with a hint of naughty but nice thrilled all in attendance.
City Hall was transformed from the center of city government to its second function, the center of our community. During its almost 140 year history City Hall seen circuses, Buffalo Bill shows, many parties and the 375th City Anniversary Sculpture Show but as Maggie Rosa, Chair of the City Hall Restoration Commission, remarked during the shows “Nothing, nothing can match the excitement of a Bananas show in City Hall – truly an historic event in an historic building.
From Erika Hansen-

Joey, you totally get how important this event was!

As you know, I have been looking at things that “lift my heart, open my mind and take my breath away” and the Banana Glam O Rama Fashion Show at City Hall did all those things and more!

I am intimidated to even take a stab at recording it, out of fear that I am not doing it justice, but I can’t resist your plea so here goes:

As Jackie Hardy commented, from the moment the lights dimmed and the music started, there was a palpable feeling that we had been transported to Broadway.

And then the first set of gorgeous women glided onto the stage looking like a 30′s Hollywood extravaganza come to life.

The production values were incredible:  everyone and everything looked and sounded stunningly gorgeous against the dramatic backdrop of City Hall’s Kyrouz Auditorium.  (And the silhouettes underneath the “Build not for today alone, but for tomorrow as well” quote were astounding!)

As a producer/director, Richard Leonard channeled Florenz Ziegfeld and Busby Berkeley; as a performer, he channeled Maurice Chevalier and Nelson Eddy.  Most importantly, he added his own inimitable flair and essential Richard Leonard-ness to all of the above and gave us the show of a lifetime!

Each routine was masterpiece:  from Carmen Miranda to Marilyn Monroe & Jane Russell to (yes!) Tom Jones…and all points in between.

It was a perfect mix of costumes, beauty, talent, humor, music, history and culture.

A special shout out to my sissy, Elise, whom many thought was a dancer by the way she moved so gracefully across the stage.  She epitomized 30s glamour and as Sue Ferhmann said (looking striking and elegant herself  in a classic tuxedo), it doesn’t hurt when you look like Elise!

And to Maggie Rosa’s very apt assessment that this event was a celebration of 2 Gloucester icons: Richard Leonard and City Hall, I add a third:  Margi Green’s legs!  Her already popular Relax and Lengthen stretching classes at the Arts & Wellness Center (222 Eastern Ave.) will now have waiting lists I’m sure!

I could go on and on (but I won’t!)…instead I will just leave you with this point:  my daughters, who were mesmerized for the entire performance (although my younger daughter did cover her eyes with her program during Tom Jones‘s gyrations!), were so inspired that they promptly acted out their own version of the spectacular Sisters act they had just witnessed (nuns (!) singing the song made famous by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen in White Christmas).  As event visionary and organizer Kathy Slifer put it, “that’s what it’s all about!”


One comment

  • Hey Joey
    Thanks for the additional tagging on yesterday’s photos. Thanks also for your continued support of Richard Leonard and the Bananarettes!
    Sabine

    Like

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