Cassandra Tse puts the ladies of musical theater in the spotlight in “That’s All She Wrote”

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Cassandra Tse puts women in musical theater in the spotlight in That's All She Wrote.

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Cassandra Tse puts women in musical theater in the spotlight in That’s All She Wrote.

That’s all she wrote, wrote and performed by Cassandra Tse, directed by James Cain, Te Auaha, until July 10, reviewed by Ines Almeida.

The phenomenal Cassandra Tse in a tight green number backed by a full No Man Band (that’s their name, not my mind here) of talented women is my idea of ​​a perfect winter Wednesday night.

The smoky cabaret of the Red Scare Theater Company That’s all she wrote is a feast for the eyes and a balm for the Wellington art lover who is a little fed up with the status quo.

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Cassandra Tse performed to a full house on the <a class=opening night.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

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Cassandra Tse performed to a full house on the opening night.

The heart of the story is deeply personal: Tse wants to highlight “how women and non-binary artists have to hide their work because they don’t see a place for themselves”. Do they have to hide, or are they deliberately hidden by an industry where male writers outnumber female writers 9: 1?

Well, tonight the ladies of the musical theater are in the spotlight, where, as Tse skillfully proves, is exactly in their place.

The theater is packed – a good omen that this is a story people want to hear. While I feel like the first three songs are meant to show off her vocal range, her delicious humming lulls me into a state of gentle relaxation. One of them is literally Baby lullaby at Babe, the theme song of Runaways by Elizabeth Swados.

But then, bang! Tse comes out swinging on his fourth song, Change my major of Fun house by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoirs. It’s my new favorite song and that’s exactly what Tse wants for her audience: find a song from her obscure playlist and fall in love with it. Something is moving about Tse when she performs this act. She gets rid of the carefully crafted cabaret character and stands out. She’s fascinating and hilarious and utterly delicious.

There are times when she can’t hit the higher notes and grazes the pitch. These problems are easy enough to forgive because the dream set design and stage production takes us far, far away from the Wellington cold and makes us feel like we are in the heart of Manhattan.

Her latest issue, the title of her show, is a heart-wrenching ballad about a young mother with a manuscript in a drawer no one will ever read. It’s not an inspiring song to write, like Tse intended, but it’s definitely the truth.


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