MvVO Art Launches AD ART SHOW
Cabaret

Dietrich Rides Again, But Who Is She?

Dietrich Rides Again, But Who Is She?
Justyna Kostek

Justyna Kostek Photo credit: Al Foote III

These days, most people don’t know who Marlene Dietrich was or what she did. They barely know who Judy Garland is or Liza Minnelli. So, when a show highlights the life and eccentricities of the 1930’s icon, you kind of need to spell it out. Just More Theatre’s production of Dietrich Rides Again, starring the talented Justyna Kostek, needs to flesh out, cut out, and hone their piece, which is more like cabaret than theatre.

Justyna Kostek

Justyna Kostek Photo credit: Al Foote III

This show needs to grab you from the start and the book by Oliver Conant and Ms. Kostek seems to not know where it’s going or what it is. Ms. Dietrich was a sexual predator, sleeping with both men and women. This is barely tapped. She was an ambitious performer who started in silent films, performed cabarets in a decadent Berlin, and moved to Hollywood when her country was at war. Dietrich was noted for her humanitarian efforts during the war. She became “Box Office Poison,” but reinvented herself with the USO and as a concert artist. Very little of this is touched on. Instead, we get eleven songs which are unevenly performed. Part of the problem here is Ms. Kostek spends a lot of time changing clothes behind a screen, while musical director Jono Mainelli plays overly long incidental music. What this does is break any kind of theatrical momentum. Another problem is this show is broken up into two acts and should just play straight through.

Justyna Kostek

Justyna Kostek Photo credit: Al Foote III

Ms. Kostek is appealing, but she needs to study Dietrich’s sound just a little bit more. Dietrich purred in the low guttural German and through off her sexuality like it was a bore. Ms. Kostek manages to do this, but not consistently. Also, when she sings, “You’re the Cream in My Coffee” she sings in soprano, but the sound is wrong. It needs to be more like Billie Burke (Glinda in The Wizard of Oz). Furthermore, there is an awkwardness to Ms. Kostek that a couple of ballet classes would help, but she is only 24 and is impressive in many ways.

Justyna Kostek

Justyna Kostek Photo credit: Al Foote III

The direction by Mr. Conant is actually well done but needs to hone the excessive moments.

 Dietrich Rides Again could be a rather interesting and a well-done show, it just needs some more time.

 Dietrich Rides Again: The Medicine Show Theatre, 549 West 52nd St. Until Sept. 17.

Cabaret

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. Currently she has a screenplay in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She was the Broadway Informer on the all access cable TV Show “The New Yorkers,” soon to be “The Tourist Channel.” email: suzanna@t2conline.com

More in Cabaret

Michael Longoria Brings The Movies To Song

Magda KatzOctober 12, 2019

My View: Life Is A Cabaret at The Wick Theatre

Stephen SorokoffOctober 12, 2019

Anita Gillette Reveals Her Heart and Soul at Birdland

WriterOctober 8, 2019

AT THIS PERFORMANCE.. Continues at The Green Room 42

Genevieve Rafter KeddyOctober 8, 2019

Wonder Woman Lynda Carter Comes to Lincoln Center’s The Appel Room For One Show Only

Suzanna BowlingOctober 5, 2019

Alexa Ray Joel Extends Her Seventh Sold Out Show at Café Carlyle

Suzanna BowlingOctober 5, 2019

Red Horse Theatrical Announces Hidden Cabaret to Start Productions November 4 at The Secret Room

Suzanna BowlingOctober 4, 2019

Spend Halloween With Frank Wildhorn and Constantine Maroulis at The Green Room 42

Suzanna BowlingOctober 3, 2019

Talks, Concerts and Cabaret For October

Suzanna BowlingSeptember 30, 2019