And the award goes to: Coco Peru, Valarie Pettiford and Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles
Got home too late on Saturday night to write about my superb evening at the Alex Theatre in Glendale where the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles performed “And the Award Goes to…” – an evening of Oscar, Grammy and Tony winning songs.
The chorus’ shows are always a sensation but adding to the buzz was hostess Coco Peru who sang such songs as Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again” and “Change the World,” told jokes and even danced a bit. She was the key ingredient that made the show especially fun and lively.
After also seeing Coco at the Laugh Out Loud event just four days earlier, I am now a huge fan and will try and land an interview with Miss Peru in advance of her upcoming one-woman show at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.
And then there was the sensational Valarie Pettiford. Wow. She strutted out and sang and danced for two numbers and just left you breathless. The first was the last song of the first act: “Let’s Make Love” from Kiss of the Spider Woman then she re-appeared for the closing number: “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray.
A Tony nominee for Fosse, every move Miss Pettiford makes is dazzling.
Other highlights from this face-paced evening included: the Grammy-winning Amy Winehouse song “Rehab,” not a song you’d think fitting for a large choir but it really worked – choreography and all as did “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from Hustle and Flow. The choir soared on “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” from The Lion King, “Sooner or Later” from Dick Tracy, Natalie Cole’s Grammy-winning “Unforgettable.”
Ryan DeKorte also appeared as Sarah Palin in several numbers to great comedic effect. The chorus is filled with such great talent. Not just in singing but also in dance numbers and comedy bits. What a group!
I arrived a few hours before the 8 p.m. show to attend the VIP party taking place on the second floor of the theater. I was a bit hungry so after saying hello to publicist extraordinaire Harlan Bol, I got a glass of Merlot and walked over to one of the giant cheese platters. There was a tremendous assortment of chedder, swiss, jalapeno and other cheeses and some nice grapes but not a cracker to be found! There were no crackers! I would have paid $20 for a box of Wheat Thins at that point. So I just kept eating cheese until I started feeling like Lucy and Ethel in that episode of I Love Lucy where our favorite redhead tries to disguise a giant Italian cheese as a baby on an airplane in order to not have to pay shipping costs from Europe. The plan goes awry so the girls are forced to get rid of the cheese and try eating it!
Chatted with the GMCLA Executive Director Hywel W. Sims at the party (no, I did not mention the crackerless state of affairs) and was soon joined by my pal Ted Johnson who was my guest for the evening after his husband, Stewart Scott, could not make it due to a work commitment.
After the show, Harlan took Ted and I backstage to meet Coco Peru and Valarie Pettiford. I totally gushed and I don’t care. They were amazing and gave us such an enjoyable night of entertainment.
As we were leaving the theater, I saw one of the chorus members who had caught my eye during the concert, a handsome 1st tenor who was at the very end of a row on the risers and he seemed to be looking right down on Ted and I in the third row of the audience. At least that’s what I had convinced myself of! I found out his name is David Hoey and that he’s been with the chorus since 2005. But he’d been gone a few years living in Sydney, Australia.
“I’m back now,” he said, “and very happy to be singing with the boys again.”