Sis­ter My­otis to ren­der swift judg­ment

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - STAGE - By Jon W. Sparks Spe­cial to The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

Ah, the last week­end be­fore Christ­mas. Choose your hol­i­day en­ter­tain­ment wisely.

Sis­ter My­otis would thun­der “Amen to that!” and direct you to her very own Karaoke Smack­down to­day and Satur­day at TheatreSouth.

“It’s sim­i­lar to ‘Amer­i­can Idol’ or ‘The Voice,’” says Jenny Odle Mad­den of Voices of the South, which is pro­duc­ing the event. “Peo­ple sing and then get feed­back.”

There will be hot ap­ple cider, cook­ies, prizes and a lib­eral ap­pli­ca­tion of judg­ment. Or feed­back if you pre­fer. What­ever you call it, it will come from the inim­itably good and fun­da­men­tally de­cent church lady Sis­ter My­otis and her right­eous com­pa­tri­ots, Sis­ter Ima Lone and Sis­ter Velma Needle­meyer.

“We are look­ing for tal­ent,” says Sis­ter My­otis in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view this week. “Or lack of tal­ent. Some­thing that will dis­tin­guish peo­ple from the rest of the herd.”

So who will per­form? The songs will be sung by who­ever has the for­ti­tude to sign up. A song­book will be pro­vided as well as the good will of the au­di­ence and the back­ing of River City Karaoke & DJ Ser­vice, but the judg­ment of Sis­ter My­otis will be swift, mer­ci­less and hi­lar­i­ous.

She en­cour­ages not just soloists but groups as well. “We’ve even had fam­i­lies do whole rou­tines, mom­mies and dad­dies and chil­dren work­ing to­gether on a rap song,” she says. But what if some­one is truly aw­ful? “Oh, then it’s even more fun,” Sis­ter My­otis says. “We point out all their flaws and even talk about their ugly Christ­mas sweaters. We’re from the Si­mon Cow­ell school of judg­ment that says to be hon­est and up­front and let them know how ter­ri­ble they are.”

In fact, she sees it as a com­mu­nity ser­vice. “It’s our chance to help peo­ple move be­yond delu­sion,” she says. “We want the less tal­ented to understand there are more tal­ented peo­ple out there.”

If you go, you don’t have to sing, but if you do want to war­ble and be judged, get there early enough to sign up and browse the song col­lec­tion.

The Sis­ter My­otis Karaoke Smack­down takes tonight and Satur­day at TheatreSouth, 1000 S. Cooper. Show starts at 8 p.m. but doors open at 7 for those who want to sign up. Tick­ets: $25. Info: voic­e­soft­he­south.org.

PRAC­TI­CALLY ‘PER­FECT’!

Hol­i­day per­for­mances are al­most every­where, but as much as we may love Yule-ish fare, some­times it’s grat­i­fy­ing to be en­ter­tained by un­af­fil­i­ated plea­sures. And — God bless us, ev­ery­one! — there are two such stage shows clos­ing this week­end that are worth see­ing for splen­did per­for­mances and de­light­ful sto­ries, and they just hap­pen to be all about love and also tin­sel-free.

“I Love You, You’re Per­fect, Now Change” is on stage at Play­house on the Square (run­ning in reper­tory with “Peter Pan”). It’s a se­ries of mu­si­cal vi­gnettes of peo­ple at all stages of love, from ner­vous first dates to mar­riage to kids and into old age.

The mu­si­cal is witty and charm­ing, mostly light and oc­ca­sion­ally sen­ti­men­tal, but never cloy­ing. As di­rected by Dave Lan­dis, it’s got a ter­rific en­ergy and flow as the two men and two women pop in and out of the ac­tion.

The four ac­tors bring very in­di­vid­ual sen­si­bil­i­ties while be­ing uni­formly good at singing and com­edy — ev­ery scene crack­les. Lyn­den Lewis, Kim­berly Baker, Jor­dan Nichols and Justin Asher leap into their many char­ac­ters with thor­oughly en­ter­tain­ing gusto, from brides­maid to hard­ened prisoner to nerd to video dater to car-ob­sessed hus­band.

Mu­sic di­rec­tor Steven Lien­ing and al­ter­nat­ing vi­o­lin­ists Ionut Cosarca and Tammy Holt are on stage pro­vid­ing spo­ton ac­com­pa­ni­ment through­out. It’s an in­ti­mate show, and even though Play­house is a hefty venue, the stag­ing works just right. This show is a win­ner, and you’ve only got un­til Satur­day to catch it.

“I Love You, You’re Per­fect, Now Change,” through Satur­day at Play­house on the Square, 66 S. Cooper. Per­for­mances at 8 p.m. Thurs­day-Satur­day. Tick­ets: $35 Thurs­day, $40 Fri­day and Satur­day; $22 se­niors/stu­dents/mil­i­tary; $15 Chil­dren un­der 18. Info: play­house­on­thesquare.org and 901-7264656.

AN­OTHER GOOD ONE

Over at the Dixon Gallery and Gar­dens, Ten­nessee Shake­speare is pre­sent­ing “All’s Well That Ends Well,” one of the Bard’s cheerier works. It’s an an­tic story that nee­dles the pompous and the brag­gart, gives us an ex­cep­tional hero­ine and tells a fully en­ter­tain­ing story about love and the de­cep­tion we of­ten have to em­ploy to make it hap­pen.

This is yet an­other su­perb pro­duc­tion by the Ten­nessee Shake­speare Com­pany. The stage is set up in Wine­gard­ner Au­di­to­rium, a cozy place used deftly by the troupe as home to the ac­tion in var­i­ous courts in Europe — Rousil­lon, Paris, Florence. Di­rec­tor Dan McCleary has as­sem­bled a first-rate cast and cre­ated a witty and snappy stag­ing that makes the most of the story and its fairy-tale sen­si­bil­ity.

As He­len, the girl at the cen­ter of the tale, the bril­liant Ly­dia Bar­nett-Mul­li­gan ra­di­ates a splen­did in­tel­li­gence and mis­chief as she charms, whee­dles and ma­nip­u­lates those around her.

Ten­nessee Shake­speare Com­pany’s “All’s Well That Ends Well” through Sun­day at Dixon Gallery & Gar­dens’ Wine­gard­ner Au­di­to­rium, 4339 Park. Per­for­mances 7 p.m. Thurs­day, Fri­day, Satur­day; 3 p.m. Sun­day. Tick­ets: $34.

Sis­ter My­otis

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