ME: I’d like to make reservations for Steve Martin.
Restaurant: THE Steve Martin
ME: Yes, Steve Martin, party of four for 7:30.
I knew what the restaurant was asking. And I wasn’t lying. Steve Martin was coming to dinner. It wasn’t my problem that they weren’t anticipating a black man… blame it on the rain.
#91. Pavement Group presents the world premiere of GIRL YOU KNOW IT’S TRUE. A struggling playwright creates a character. Her name is Sid and she is a black, lesbian, paraplegic. But she’s not in one of his plays, she’s him. Instead of a 40something , white, gay man, Bixby pitches himself as a woman. And it works. A New York theatre company is interested in meeting him. So, Bixby hires an actress to play *him*. His career finally takes off but nobody knows it’s his work. Simultaneous to the rise of the unknown black, lesbian, paraplegic playwright, the fall of the infamous Milli Vanilli is reenacted. Is it possible to be happy taking credit for someone else’s work? How about getting the fortune while someone else gets the fame? GIRL YOU KNOW IT’S TRUE is not a lie. It’s genuinely great!
Playwright Bixby Elliot imaginatively syncs the legendary music scandal with a theatrical drama. The back-n-forth from flashy 80s to duller present day fascinates. Interspersed between those two main stories of construction and deconstruction, soliloquies of impostors reinforce the message of successful pretending. Elliot’s ending is a clever twist that keeps me wondering. Director David Perez goes for the real deal with a mega-talented cast. Anchoring the show, Milli Vanilli IS a lip-syncing sensation. Armand Fields (Fab) and Sentell Harper (Rob) are visual stunners! They bring back the 80s busting the moves in flamboyant finery (Costume Designer Emma Cullimore). They are a fun-loving, hilarious spectacle! A deliciously smarmy Michael Salinas (Frank) contrasts perfectly as the opportunistic record producer. Their scene stealing segments are unforgettable. And paralleling perfectly is the less showy but poignant drama of a playwright’s struggle to find his voice and himself in his own out-of-control creation.
Perez stages the show deep. It works for tight orchestration as movable walls (Scenic Designer John Wilson) swirl to establish placement. Milli Vanilli is always in the forefront with loud in-your-face moxie. The difficulty is the more reserved scenes are in the back. The quieter characters are harder to hear. Still, I really loved this show. Was it the resurrection of my Milli Vanilli heyday? Or a writer resorting to *creative measures* for success? Or the unstoppable talented cast? GIRL YOU KNOW IT’S TRUE… ooh ooh ooh I love you!
Production photograph courtesy of Ben Chandler
Running Time: Ninety-five minutes with no intermission
At Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division
Written by Bixby Elliot
Directed by David Perez
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru May 13th
Buy Tickets at www.pavementgroup.org