In her first “Dozen Divas Show” of 2019, on January 25 at the Triad Theater, singer and self-styled ‘female female impersonator’ Dorothy Bishop gave us her keen and clever impersonations of a dozen favorite divas, armed with an assortment of apt wigs and costumes, using custom backing tracks, and offering sing-alongs and appearances by an assisting guest artist, columnist Michael Musto.
Bishop began as Joan Rivers (“can we talk?”), gossiping and qvetching after death, about Heaven, the Oscars, and the nominees, in her version of “I’m too Sexy.”
A favorite Bishop approach to these icons, these veteran superstars, is showing them presenting themselves as oh so au courant, but falling back on their tried-and-true repertory after all. In this vein, she gave us a fierce and stylized Shirley Bassey, in gold lamé, trumpeting the theme song from “Goldfinger,” in her volcanic bass with soprano highlights, but game enough to tackle Jim Morrison and the Doors’ “Light My Fire.” Bishop’s jittery, glittering bionic Liza Minnelli, fresh out of rehab, wooed the young ones with Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it),” but retreated to home territory with Kander and Ebb’s “And the World Goes ’Round,” with modified Bob Fosse moves. There were many glorious moments in “Dozen Divas,” but one that I most treasure was her ‘urban diva’ Renée Fleming, all pop and Broadway, blithely fielding “And I Am Telling You I’m not Going,” from “Dreamgirls,” punctuated with grand operatic high notes!
Bishop was a sensitive-ish Barbra Steisand, duetting with a contrastingly gruff ‘Neil Rhinestone’ (Musto), in “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” and with herself, on video, as Judy Garland in the Great Beyond, in “Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy.”
Hope the singer doesn’t hurt her vocal cords emulating Stevie Nicks’ buzz-saw bleat, in the likes of “Rhiannon” and “Landslide.”
As the evening wound down, Bishop went from the eternal, throaty Cher to Lady Gaga, in an eye-popping dress and train, airing Oscar aspirations in a pithy answer to “Bad Romance” (“Dressed like I Got a Chance”), and sparring with an equally hopeful Glenn Close (Musto).
Catch Dorothy Bishop in her “Dozen Divas” show at the Triad, 158 West 72nd Street, east of Broadway, on March 1 at 9:30 pm, April 4 at 7 pm, May 3 or June 7 at 9:30 pm, July 5 at 7 pm, August 2 or September 6 at 9:30 pm, October 4 at 7 pm, or Halloween or December 6 at 9:30 pm. Visit www.triadnyc.com or www.dozendivas.com for more information.