Entertainment » Theatre

For The Record: Scorsese - American Crime Requiem

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Oct 10, 2016
Dionne Gipson and Justin Mortelliti.
Dionne Gipson and Justin Mortelliti.  

For six years the "For the Record" concert/theater series has taken Los Angeles by storm. Since then the theatrical concert shows based on famous director's movie soundtracks has grown in size and popularity, expanding to bigger venues all over Los Angeles, as well as a permanent show in Vegas, shows on the Norwegian Cruise Line, and limited engagements in New York, Palm Springs, and Chicago. (There is even a series of ABC specials coming soon!)

It's been over a year since "For the Record's" last West Hollywood venue DBA closed its doors, so it's with great excitement that a new version of "For the Record" returns to Los Angeles. "For the Record: Scorsese - American Crime Requiem" runs through October 16 at the Wallis Theatre and should be at the top of your to-do list this Fall.

Set on a stage that looks like a '50s Vegas lounge act (complete with some audience members seated at tables on the stage), the show combines scenes from some of Scorsese's most popular films with the songs from the film's soundtracks. From "Goodfellas" to "Casino" to "Taxi Driver" and even "The Wolf of Wall Street" the combination of fast-talking Scorsese characters and classic songs makes for an electric night of intense (and funny) vignettes and stunningly arranged music that is worked into the narrative like a traditional musical.

While a knowledge of Scorsese films is helpful, audiences will no doubt be blown away by the magnificent performances. For longtime fans of "For the Record," regular cast members (and stars in their own right) return, including the delightfully raspy-voiced Jason Paige, hunky James Byous, the seductive siren Dionne Gibson, the big-throated Olivia Harris, and the tiny but powerful Lindsey Gort.

Newcomers from all over the entertainment landscape join the show like Tony-Award Winner John Lloyd Young ("Jersey Boys"), 2016 Tony Nominee Carmen Cusack ("Bright Star"), Grammy winner B. Slade ("Tonex"), and "American Idol" alum Pia Toscano.

What's interesting is that as good as the men are, just like a Scorsese film, the women end up stealing the show. With Toscano, you are witnessing the birth of a true star. Not only is her voice flawless, but also her acting chops are through the roof. And how lucky are we to have a recent Broadway veteran like Cusack gracing the stage of the Wallis? Her old-school vocals and velvety voice are something to hear, and when she belts out any of her show-stopping numbers ("Sweet Dreams" is one), all eyes are on her.

Whether or not you're a fan of the snappy and vulgar Scorsese's body of work, that shouldn't be the deciding factor here on whether you should see the show. Because you absolutely should. It is the musicianship of the performers and the artistry of musical arranger Jesse Vargas that dazzles. And the mob is all held together in a nifty package by longtime "For the Record" director Anderson Davis.

"For the Record: Scorsese - American Crime Requiem" runs through Oct. 16 at the Wallis Theatre, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90210. For information on this show or their upcoming lineup, visit www.thewallis.org.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.


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