A few weeks ago, I attended the opening night of Mama and Her Boys at NYC's The Underground, the new heartfelt and fun musical revue created by and starring Ethan Paulini, Christopher Sidoli, and Wendy Watson. Through song, Mama and Her Boys took the audience on a life cycle journey of the relationship between a mother and her two sons.
I have seen many musical revues that claimed to tell a story through song, but Mama and Her Boys, clearly told this story. They picked excellent songs to move the evening forward, hitting all the right notes and then some! The evening was a mixture of fun and recognizable songs like Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," "When You're Good To Mama" by Kander/Ebb, "Sisters" by Irving Berlin, " "We Are Family" by Nile Rodgers/Bernard Edwards, and "The Facts of Life" theme song by Alan Thicke/Gloria Loring/Al Burton as well some great songs that I had not been familiar with such as "Why Don't You Like My Man" by Bosco Mann, "Don't Mess With Me (I'm Somebody's Mother) by Sally Fingerett.
Intermixed with these fun songs were some wonderful heartfelt songs including Drew Overcash's "Imagine" and "By Your Side," "I'll Be There" by Brian Holland/Lamont Dozier/Eddie Holland, "Who Will Love Me As I Am" by Henry Krieger/Bill Russell, "You Could Never Shame Me," by Kander/Ebb, "Tell Mama" by Clarence Carter/Marcus Daniel/Wilbur Terrell, Dolly Parton's "To Daddy," David Yazbek's "Invisible," "Sweet Child of Mine" by W. Axl Rose/Slash/Izzy Stradlin'/Duff McKagan/Steven Adler, and "Rose's Turn."
As wonderful as these songs were, it was the talents of Ethan, Christopher, Wendy and musical director William Demaniow that helped bring Mama and Her Boys to life! William's arrangements catered perfectly to each performers voice, allowing them shine bright. While William kept the sound of the songs close to what everyone is used to, he was also able to bring a freshness to the songs, which was quite delightful. When Ethan, Christopher, and Wendy sang together, the three of them sounded divine, singing perfectly in unison, but when they sang separately, they were allowed to glow brightly on their own. The talent of these three was very exciting to watch.
What made Mama and Her Boys extra special was that every week, there is a featured guest "family" artist brought in to make this show a full family experience. The week I had attended the show, the special guest was none other than Christina Sajous who's Broadway credits include American Idiot, Baby, It's You, and Spiderman, Turn of the Dark as well as her current gig in Off-Broadway's Forever Dusty. Christina was a great addition to this already extraordinary night of talent as she brought the house down with "Mama Knows Best" by Jessica Cornish/Ashton Millard. Christina's voice is like no other and she took to the maximum height. When Christina sings, people pay attention. It was great to add her talent to this exciting evening.
If you are looking for a fun and heartfelt show, take the train uptown to experience Mama and Her Boys at The Undergound (955 West End Avenue at 107th Street) every Monday at 9pm. It's a very enjoyable evening filled with timeless music and big talent! Be sure to visit http://www.ethanpaulini.com/mama-and-her-boys to find out more, including each week's guest artist. Click here for tickets and follow Mama and Her Boys on Facebook and Twitter!