Review: 'Deliciously Wicked,' North Coast Men's Chorus

One last show today, April 12, at 3 p.m. at the Regina Auditorium at Notre Dame College. Tickets available at the door.

No matter how many Broadway musicals you’ve attended, there’s one thing you’ve probably never heard. That is: Hearing about 80 men sing some of your favorite stage tunes, lending those songs the power and nuance that can only come from a well-practiced chorus.

Well, you can correct that deficiency in your life this weekend by attending Deliciously Wicked, A Broadway Revue, the latest offering by the North Coast Men’s Chorus. This group describes themselves as “Northeast Ohio’s largest gay chorus,” but within that circle they are remarkably diverse in terms of age and other demographic markers.

Of course, what they share most of all is a passion for singing. And when that passion is applied to tunes from Wicked, Kinky Boots, Les Miz and many others, the effect on a lover of Broadway can be truly transformative, as it was in the rehearsal I attended.

As you might expect of a chorus, the multiple tiers of dudes often simply stand and deliver, such as in the powerful anthem “Into the Fire” from The Scarlet Pimpernel. There’s something about the power of this many voices—more than in most church choirs outside of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir—that creates a visceral stirring in your gut.

But these guys also have a sense of humor, which is shown in some of the clever choreography crafted by Lora Workman. In the opening number, “Magic To Do” from Pippin, a squad of guys peel off from the chorus to support the rich-toned soloist Brandon Bowman with some smooth moves. Several other men make solo appearances, and the NCMC specialty ensemble, a sextet called The Coastliners, croon a couple featured ditties including the irrepressible “Hello” from The Book of Mormon.

There are also some surprises, such as some of the guys showing up in heels for one number and wielding magically appearing canes in another.

Under the baton of artistic director Richard Cole and accompanied by Robert Day on the keyboard, with some percussive help in the shadows, Deliciously Wicked is a rare treat. So if you love Broadway musicals and choral singing, you best haul your pert buns to Notre Dame College in South Euclid tonight and tomorrow afternoon. (It’s a big auditorium, they’ll fit you in.)

Not only is the music wonderful. It’s a way to share space with people who have found meaning and a sense of belonging in a group that is dedicated to sharing its talents with the community. And that alone is worth the price of admission.

Deliciously Wicked
Tonight and tomorrow, April 11 at 8 PM and April 12 at 3 PM, Regina Auditorium at Notre Dame College, 1857 S. Green Rd., South Euclid. Tickets available at the door, 216-556-0590

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Christine Howey

Christine Howey has been reviewing theater since 1997, first at Cleveland Free Times and then for other publications including City Pages in Minneapolis, MN and The Plain Dealer. Her blog, Rave and Pan, also features her play reviews. Christine is a former stage actor and director, primarily at Dobama Theatre...
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