CHIC AND SASSY: THE HIGHER THE HAIR, THE CLOSER TO GOD
nytheatre.com review by John Jordan
chic, adj: cleverly stylish, currently fashionable; sassy,
n: vigorous, lively; distinctively smart and stylish.
August 15, 2002
Alas, to say this production is either would not be true. Written by and starring Chic and Sassy (neither the program nor the website lists any other names), Chic and Sassy: The Higher the Hair, The Closer to God is like the little train that wants to.
Two “girls” in small town Texas want more out of life. They want to move to The Big Apple. They enter a playwriting contest at the county fair, with high hopes of winning the $5,000 grand prize. They fall in love (not with each other), rehearse their play, and contemplate life. Overall, it’s an uninspiring play about unfulfilled hopes and dreams.
The production as a whole does not try too hard, which is where it does succeed. Chic and Sassy are both capable in their roles as two drag queens (as I am assuming they themselves are) wanting more out of life. Joanne Cunningham as Miss Sally of Miss Sally's Hair Salon and Live Bait Shop, where the “girls” work, is enjoyable. Stacey Raymond as the town dyke, Gerty, is quite good, especially during a hilarious dance with a hot, red bra. But David Meidenbauer (Billy Joe, a local), Chris Alonzo (Jesse, the mysterious stranger), and Will Harrell (Fairy Godmother and also the director of the piece) are mostly unconvincing.
The staging is a bit “old school.” The costume design by Dana Burkart sells out on stereotype. The uncredited lighting design should remain that way. (Special note: I was thrilled to hear Dolly Parton’s new take on Stairway to Heaven during intermission. Now that was both chic and sassy.)
I left the theatre unsure as to whether the general public of this fictional Little Rock is aware that Chic and Sassy are actually men. I am unsure as to whether or not we are to believe they are women or men. I wish that had been cleared up. But it made me think and at least briefly discuss afterwards. And isn’t that at least one of the things plays are supposed to do? Hmmm.