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Straight From NYMF: Bad Ass Beauty The Rock Opera Pulls No Punches

Straight From NYMF: Bad Ass Beauty The Rock Opera Pulls No Punches
LaQuinta Prince

LaQuinta Prince (Alpha Female); Photo: Kim Carter

Another option at the New York Musical Festival was a show that proves hard life can be the basis for a tough musical. Bad Ass Beauty The Rock Opera is raw, rough and clearly heartfelt, this project with music by singer/songwriter LaQuinta Prince and Anthony Geminani, lyrics by Ms. Prince, and additional music & lyrics by Stefanie A. Seskin, is a musical portrait of a fictional woman, Aralyn Ford, drawn somewhat from autobiographical elements in the authors’ lives, who has to pull herself through a lot of rough times and abuse to achieve success and self-realization. The show is billed as a “Rock Opera,” but it isn’t sung through. There’s an onstage band, and no set, so it would be better to call this a concert version of a rock musical. The performers, including Ms. Prince, Ms. Seskin and Jameelah Leaundra as a side of Aralyn called “Beauty,” stand on stage throughout the show, but have very little physical interaction.

 Ms. Prince has a powerful voice, but she frequently pushes it to extremes that devolve into shouting. It may well be authentic to the character she has created that the lyrics are replete with obscenities. But “what the f…” is really not as profound a statement about life as she seems to think it is, and the number of times it is repeated wears out its welcome. I did enjoy the lovely Ms. Leaundra, who deserves a better vehicle. Ms. Prince certainly has her followers, who were out in force. From their cheering, they clearly had a different opinion of the evening than I did. One could argue that all the rough language and overwrought melodrama  are authentic and necessary to the character Ms. Prince and her collaborators seeks to create, but that character is not one I personally would want to spend another evening with.
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Off Broadway

Jeffery Lyle Segal is a multifaceted theater artist who has worn many professional hats. He started as a musical theater performer in his teens. He attended Stanford U., Northwestern University, and SUNY at Binghamton to study acting, directing and dramatic literature. He also wrote theater reviews for The Stanford Daily and was Arts Editor of WNUR Radio at Northwestern. After college, he is proud to have been the first full time Executive Director of Chicago’s acclaimed Steppenwolf Theater Company. He left them to work as a theater actor and director. His special effects makeup skills got him into the movies, working on the seminal cult horror film, Re-Animator.He also did casting for several important Chicago projects, sometimes wearing both production hats, as he did on Chicago’s most famous independent movie, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. While living in Los Angeles, he joined the Academy for New Musical Theater, where he developed two book musicals as a composer, lyricist and librettist, Down to Earth Girl (formerly I Come for Love, NYMF 2008), and Scandalous Behavior! (York Developmental Reading Series 2010). He wrote, produced and performed his song “Forever Mine” as the end title theme of the horror film, Trapped! He also has written songs for his performances in cabaret over the years, and the time he spent pursuing country music in Nashville. Most recently he created a musical revue, Mating the Musical, for the Chicago Musical Theater Festival 2016. In NYC, he has attended the BMI musical theater writers’ workshop, and the Commercial Theater Institute 14 week producer program. He is currently creating a company to develop new musicals online. He still keeps up his makeup chops, working with top doctors in NYC and Chicago as one of the country’s most highly regarded permanent cosmetic artists (www.bestpermanentmakeup.com) and as a member of Chicago local IATSE 476. www.jefferylylesegal.com

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