Unlike the rigid rules you’ll encounter at an amusement park, you won’t have to wait until the ride comes to a complete stop to spring from your seats at the Theatre at St. Clements. In fact, you may get a reprimand from a fabulous disco queen if you DON’T get up and shake your moneymakers. After all, a song called “Dance” isn’t meant to be enjoyed sitting down. Honeys, Sylvester just won’t have it!
Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical is the latest biographical jukebox show from a phenomenally talented Anthony Wayne . It spins the tale of a young, black, pentecostal gospel singer turned flamboyant, charismatic and unapologetic diva who found his treasure under the gleam of a disco ball. In addition to portraying Sylvester, Wayne penned the book and directed the show along with his real life partner and co-director Kendrell Bowman.
Wayne’s performance is appropriately caffeinated and exceedingly astonishing. His 90 minute embodiment is tireless and heartfelt. Adding to this musical can of red bull are his fellow singers, Anastacia McLeskey and Jacqueline B. Arnold, who play The Weather Girls. True fans may recall their 1982 smash hit, “It’s Raining Men” (which is included among the musical numbers), but prior to that hit, they toured with him as back-up singers.
Sylvester was deeply troubled and admitted to feelings of ongoing loneliness. Beneath the outlandish costumes, expensive jewels, and chauffeured limousines dwelled a troubled soul who yearned for greater substance. Ultimately, the nightlife of the disco decade lost a bedazzled jewel when this consumate performer lost his battle to AIDS in 1988. Wayne’s book doesn’t shy away from this darker side. The problem is that the narrative is too abrubt. He works so hard to raise the temperature of the night and the audience, only to quickly shift gears into a tale of woe, leaving the show’s pacing awkward and flat. We’re forced to trudge through a somber diatribe of loss and regret before these talented performers once again manufacture enough energy to knock the disco ball out of the decade with a rousing upbeat number. While there are valuable lessons to be learned from this incredible star, the true point of attending should be to seek unadulterated fun. And you will find it.Stay seated at your own peril.
MIGHTY REAL: A FABULOUS SYLVESTER MUSICAL now playing at Theatre at St. Clement’s (423 W. 46th Street between 9th and 10th) through Sunday, October 5th. Tickets are available at (866) 811-4111 or by visiting www.FabulousSylvester.com