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March 24, 2014
Review: Alive!
Gladys Mitchell
Gladys Mitchell in "Alive!"

“Alive!”, conceived and written by Vy Higginsen and Ken Wydro, who also directs, showcases an exuberant, youthful ensemble of singers who are 55 and over, defying the notion that you must slow down with age. With real life testimonials, powerhouse vocals and a live band, this musical presented by the Mama Foundation for the Arts features a diverse and delightful blend of gospel, jazz, R&B, and pop music that serves as a springboard for the authentic stories that come forth throughout the production.

While “Alive!” definitely takes you to church with tearjerking gospel songs like “Stand” and “Salvation Day”, the audience is also taken on this generation's ever-changing journey with songs like “I’ll Always Love You” and the Pointer Sisters’ “Slow Hand”.  There is never a dull moment, as the stories of each ensemble member differ so greatly that you never know what you are going to hear next. Many relevant life issues are touched upon: leaving a first love, single parenthood, divorce, finding love while in prison, and so much more. At times the testimonials and the songs that accompany them will bring you to tears.

“Alive!” is worth seeing not only for the uplifting feeling that you will have when you leave the theater, but also for the cast's great musical talent. Featuring Num H.S. Amun’Tehu, Deborah Bingham, Donna Love Brown, Matthew Brown, Matthew Burke, Robin Campos, Robin Crudup, Gladys DeJesus Mitchell, Darlene Eklou, Phyllis Harris, Theo Harris, Gloria Jones, Susie Jones, Sharon Patrick, Roberta Ross, Ricardo Vega, Renee Walker, and Pamela White, this ensemble is inspirational and their singing is electric.  Vibrant and spirited, they personify what it means to be “alive and kicking”: they prove that age is only a number, and that limitation is only in the mind.

If you want to experience a soul-stirring, spirit-lifting celebration of life, “Alive!” is a definite must-see.

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Written by: Lynnette Nicholas
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