Review:PGMC Diva Sing-a-Long

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

I had heard of the Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus before, but never really payed them much mind. Living in center city, I am berated daily with advertisements for theatre, music and dance that I've (sadly) become numb to it. Then I saw the words "Diva Sing-a-Long" and things cleared up quite quickly, I knew I had to make my way to the show.

With help from the outreach chair Thomas Wolfinger I was able to secure a seat to one of the hottest shows in town this weekend, and I lucked out. Thom informed me there There would be 50 + LGBTQ students from area high schools/ colleges attending the concert. Following the show would be enjoying a pizza party, so I would have a chance to talk to them! Even more exciting, part of their outreach program included holding open auditions for a solo during the concerts "Let it Go."

I took my seat and flipped to the song list in the bright ping program I was handed, and with every new song title I read, I let out quiet, yet audible squeal of excitement. From Cher to Gaga, Barbara to Idina, these men where taking on all the greats.

Mid way through the show and I was hooked, this was so much more than a bunch of men singing around a piano, there was choreography, drag queens, and a soloist, Danielle Doughterty of Benjamin Rush, that brought the audience to its feet. The arrangements were tight and fresh, and Joseph Buches ran a tight ship keeping all of the men singing harmoniously. Also notable – Mark Lenard was the Choreographer and Costumes by Jim Reed.

I had a chance to talk to two random patrons, 3 glasses of wine in…

"I love it, it's so amusing, I'm having a better time than I thought I would, and I knew I was going to have a good time."

Talking to the Dancers, I became enthralled to learn that they Rehearsed just two nights a week for 2 months. With challenging numbers intertwined with quick changes, it was quite the impressive feat.

The second act of the show picked right up where it left off energy wise, but not time period or tempo, things slowed down a bit as the chorus boys (always wanted to say that…) explored the divas of yester-year. This audience got to its feet multiple times in the second act, they were clearly having as much fun as I was.

After the show I had a chance to talk with some of the students invited via the outreach program at a pizza party the PGMC set up for them.

"We were the first school the PGMC did an outreach program with, we're proud to be here and support them. We loved the finale, and Lady Gaga nailed it!" – Academy at Plumbo

I asked Pennsybury High School what brought them around " we went to their Christmas event and loved it, and then they (PGMC) reached out to us, and provided us free tickets because they support our mission to end homophobia."

Many student from the Arts Academy of Benjamin Rush attended to support the soloist Danielle, I asked them how they combat homophobia at their school, "our social justice team at the school shows a relevant documentary frequently, and we regularly have spoken word event s where students can share what's on their mind!"

Side note, sponsored by Geno's Steaks? I'm hungry…

Lead photo by Patrick Hagerty
Other photos by Chris Balbi

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