My Farrah lady

Shauna Hicks & Her 70's Mix

Written and performed by Shauna Hicks
Directed by and developed with Michael Schiralli
Presented by Caroline Rhea
Don't Tell Mama
343 West 46th St. (212/757-0788)
Equity showcase (closes Mar. 29)
Review by Elias Stimac

 On her promotional postcard, Shauna Hicks recreated the famous poster pose of Farrah Fawcett-Majors, complete with flowing golden hair, skimpy swimsuit, and dazzling smile. After watching her relive her less-than-glamorous childhood in her musical revue Shauna Hicks & Her 70's Mix, it was clearly evident that she had established herself as the poster child for cute and curvy cabaret stars.

An alumna of the "Class of 1980," Hicks takes viewers back to the simpler era when Jimmy Carter was president and Love Boat ruled the airwaves. Along the way she touches on major political and feminist milestones, revealing their relevance in her own upbringing. ("I wanted to be a sexual object," she boldly exclaimed at one point.)

These historical references are interwoven with private anecdotes from her adolescence, covering everything from preteen crushes to prom night. An early hysterical highlight was watching Hicks stuff her first training bra to the tune of the Jackson 5's "ABC." The rites of passage she encounters are not only universal but instantly recognizable by audience members of all ages. So are the many pop standards she sings, including "I Am Woman," "Killing Me Softly (With His Song)," and "Paradise By the Dashboard Light."

Hicks was a consummate performer, with a strong voice and a sly sense of humor. She easily moved from campy comedic material to heartfelt song-styling with ease and agility. Her vocal prowess and down-to-earth demeanor made fans out of anyone within earshot.

Director Michael Schiralli developed the script with Hicks, helping to make every sequence a highlight and giving each one both context and comical undertones. Together, Hicks and Schiralli have crafted a female "Wonder Years" set to music, an all-around entertaining and enlightening evening.

Music director James Followell nimbly accompanied Hicks through her nostalgic song list, even humorously getting into the act on a few numbers. The lighting design, by Shawn Moninger, was as effervescent as the performer it illuminated. Hicks's happy-face T-shirt and clingy tank top were perfect throwbacks to the fashion fads of her formative years. Multimedia contributions by Doug Gatanis included a slide show full of indelible images from those bygone days.

Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Sets: 1
Costumes: 2
Lighting/Sound: 2

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Copyright 2003 Elias Stimac