This review might be completely biased. Why? Because I Am A Broadway Baby! Of all, the festivals I have been to, Afropunk, Panorama, Elements, etc. Elsie Fest was the one that most connected with my inner child/ drama club teen. Yes, I have been a theater queen for all my life because musical theater has a way of transfixing my soul.
Musical Theater has a very communal, united front, and on September 5th that front took over Conedy Island. The proud theater nerds came out in droves making the Boardwalk look like the homes for a Broadway themed- Comic- Con. People were ready to sing show-tunes, dance like they were apart of some majestical chorus, and make new friends to have sincere, long-winded discussions over which musical was the best of all time. (Trust Me!, I have been in those discussions and they can LAST!) Still. it was the excitement of being amongst people, and not feeling like a love for musical theater was “weird” or “uncool” that was most intoxicating about the day.
Musical Theater has grown as a badge of honor, but it still can be downplayed as “obnoxious” or “too fantasy”, (although the latter insult did not feel as such lol!). The point is that, often, it is the heart of Broadway babies that gets challenged for deeply loving something as mystical as the musical. Yet, Elsie Fest was perfect in creating a warm, safe, and ULTRA FUN environment for those that wanted to let their Wicked- loving, Bernadette Peters fan-girling, Chorus Line appreciating, and Hamilton exalting flags FLY!
Here are some of my favorite acts!
Lena Hall is my girl crush. She is a ferocious performer that has a set of pipes that could bust open the gates of Heaven. Seriously, her range could open those pearly gates for ANYONE! Yet, what I appreciate most about Lena Hall is her personality. I have seen her perform a few times and she is always so warm and FUNNY! Ugh, she can sing and make me laugh. Moreover, overtime Lena Hall sings a song from Hedwig and The Angry Inch, I believe a baby smiles for the first time. #sogood #mynewbestfriend
Darren Criss needs to STOP STEALING! Everytime, I see him perform, he steals my heart, my feelings, and every joy a human being can summon through their presence. Honestly!, he is so made for musical theater, I have a conspiracy theory that he was birthed by the genre itself. Moreover, with his ability to makes Disney tunes sound like modern, adult romance songs, and not the soundtrack for any pixie sugar-induced 5 year old, has convinced me that he should be the next prince in a future Disney -animated film. #getonitmickey
Cynthia Erivo reminds me of every single thing that is associated with elegance. I’m talking flowers, diamonds, and perfume. Every time she hits a stage, she gives it a touch of grace. She literally does not need any lighting because her aura is naturally bright. She shined at Elsie Fest and gave one of he best performances because she does not hit notes…. She elevates them! HEEEEYYY!! That is right! She makes music notes come to her, bow, and then rise! #queen
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is one of my favorite shows, and Mr. Burgess is the lead singer of one of the greatest songs ever ….. PINOT NOIR!!!!!! Of course, when he came on the stage, I was ready to be “Andromedafied”. Burgess has such a powerful voice, like Erivo, when he sing songs, you feel like every emotion the writer placed into its lyrics is elevated. As a writer of music, Burgess is a dream. He has an immense vocal range, and can capture a sentiment to transform it into reality. Each song he sang felt like an ode to a character or human story that shared a similar spiritual journey.
Todrick Hall proved why his role on Kinky Boots will be a piece of cake i.e. easy for him to make and delicious for audiences to consume. I really admire Hall because he feels like a Musical Theater fan that has “made” it. He approaches the genre and stage like someone whose living in their dream, which he actually is! Thus, he cannot fail as a performer because, in knowing how much he loves what he is doing, you always pull for him and his spiritual spark.
For More On Elsie Fest and To See More Picture Like These Click On Their Official Website!