Sherie Rene Scott sings of 'Rapture' semi-stardom

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[April 30, 2010]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Sherie Rene Scott to the rescue.

Scott and "Everyday Rapture," her deliciously entertaining mini-musical, have arrived on Broadway, an emergency, end-of-season replacement for the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of "Lips Together, Teeth Apart" which imploded during rehearsals.

"Rapture," which opened Thursday at the Roundabout's American Airlines Theatre, fits just fine into a large space, much bigger that off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre where the production had a successful run last year. But then the bubbly, blond, multitalented Scott has one of those quirky, expansive theater personalities that can really fill a stage.

The 90-minute musical, largely a one-woman show, is a story of self and selflessness: the quest by a woman (also named Sherie Rene) for semi-stardom and spiritual rejuvenation, all at the same time. It's a conflict that follows her from a Kansas upbringing (mostly religious) to the bright lights of Broadway (not so religious).

Two different philosophies, written on pieces of paper are carried by the woman. One paper says, "I am a speck of dust"; the other, "The world was created for me."

And her story, concocted by Scott and Dick Scanlan, is funny, touching and more than a little melodic.

Along the way, Scott, who possesses a bold, brassy voice, sings some dozen songs, many with the able assistance of two sassy backup singers, Lindsay Mendez and Betsy Wolfe. The songwriters are an eclectic bunch, ranging from Elton John to Harold Arlen to Harry Nilsson to Fred Rogers to Harry Warren and more.

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That Fred Rogers is Mr. Rogers of public television's "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," a seminal influence on our stage Sherie Rene. A second was her gay cousin, Jerome, who died of AIDS and who introduced her to another cultural icon -- Judy Garland.

In Scott's vaguely autobiographical tale, Sherie Rene finds her way to New York and eventually roles in Broadway shows, where she becomes a minor celebrity, worthy of YouTube adoration. That segment features a giddy, hilarious turn by young Eamon Foley as a Sherie Rene-obsessed teenager, capable of copying her every stage move on video.

Director Michael Mayer speedily moves things along on the colorfully lighted stage where a five-piece band provides strong support. But it's Scott herself who does all the heavy lifting in this entertaining show. After "Everyday Rapture" completes its Roundabout run, what's needed for this unique performer is a big new musical comedy.

[Associated Press; MICHAEL KUCHWARA]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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