From stage to page: the artistic journey of “Blood Sisters: The Musical”

Blood Sisters the novel

The novel “Generational Curses” was based on the stage musical that was performed in Orlando in 2012.

HAMPTON ROADS, VA — Stage productions have the ability to reach out, grab your heart, and deeply move audiences. Malikah R. Harris found that out in 2012 when she brought her production “Blood Sisters: The Musical” to the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, and won rave reviews.

Today, Harris, who lives in Virginia, has created a different format for “Blood Sisters,” the story about a typical American single parent family where Joanna Karen Smith — or simply “Momma” — has relied on her deep sense of faith as she raised her children. Now, after more than 32 years of self-sacrifice, Momma is fed up and is giving her grown daughters 5 months to put their lives together.

Harris has taken the story, and put it into novel form. For audiences who did not see the theatrical version of “Blood Sisters,” they can visit Amazon and get the book, and follow the story of Momma and her daughters there. Continue reading

Fringe Review: “Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Ethel Merman”

Ethel Merman Fringe

“Everything I Need to Know I Learned From… Ethel Merman” is a musical extravaganza coming to the Orlando Fringe Festival in May.

ORLANDO – Legendary Broadway performers, after years of building up a loyal audience, have often discovered that they can build a show around something else: themselves.
After years of entertaining crowds with their renditions of classic show tunes, they finally start to open up about the lives they’ve kept secret from fans. And as gifted performers, they know how to narrate their lives — the joys, the tragedies, the heartache that caused them to struggle behind the scenes, even moments before bursting on the stage, looking radiant and ready to entertain.
And, chances are, they also know there are fans out there who idolize them, their music, and their larger than life personality. In most instances, they probably never know just how powerfully they can inspire someone.
That was the role that legendary Broadway performer Ethel Merman served for Mickey Layman, the singer, actor and comedic performer at Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Shows and many other Orlando theater productions. With a passion for Merman’s music and career, Layman decided to pay tribute to her with his show at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival.
“Everything I Need to Know I Learned From … Ethel Merman” honors the career of the star of “Gypsy” and “Annie Get Your Gun,” the woman that Layman calls “the wisest Diva of them all,” as he sings some of her classic songs, like “You’re The Top,” “I Got Lost In His Arms,” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” Continue reading

Fringe Review: “#KanderAndEbb”

ryan hinds orlando fringe

Toronton’s Ryan G. Hinds brings his tribute show “#kanderandebb” to the Orlando Fringe Festival.

ORLANDO — Never let it be said that our neighbors to the north don’t have a lot to offer when it comes to exquisite pleasures.
Canada truly does offer quite a bit, from the spectacular beauty of Niagara Falls to great cities like Montreal and Vancouver, and if you’ve never vacationed there, you’re truly missing out.
If you want further evidence, just travel over to Epcot and dine at Le Cellier Steakhouse, the Canadian restaurant in the World Showcase that offers an unforgettable candlelit steak and seafood meal in a cellarlike space.
Now Orlando residents get another fine example of a truly first-rate Canadian import, courtesy of Toronto singer and performer Ryan G. Hinds. A longtime fan of the Broadway songwriters John Kander and Fred Ebb — best known for legendary musicals like “Cabaret” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman” — Hinds has delivered his tribute show, #Kander And Ebb,” to the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival.
Is it worth seeing? Well, if you love a) rich, stunning singing voices, b) a delightfully funny performer, C) Liza Minnelli, and d) obviously, the music of Kander and Ebb, you’re definitely going to want to catch this one. Continue reading

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