Great fun It rolls right along, with bright inventive lyrics wonderful talent and terrific costumes a huge hit with the crowd. Loved it.
Lee Hartgrave, Beyond Chron
Watch Me Shine actually shines a big-hearted yet physically small show the LGBT community are apt to enjoy [this] uplifting look on their past, present and futureand one that gives them any number of anthems for continued inspiration.
Leslie Katz, Oakland Tribune
Encapsulates the essence of gay pride...
Chad Jones, Oakland Tribune
Opening night at Watch Me Shine was extra special with a proclamation from our Marriage Mayor Gavin Newsom and our fighting Assemblyman Mark Leno. Watch Me Shine is not only an OFFICIAL PRIDE EVENT, but it should be mandatory for every LGBT person on the planet to witness. If youre queer, youll really identify with this musical; if youre not queer, you might just convert, after watching this amazing revue amazing revue packed with pride and passion.
Dennis McMillan, SF Bay Times
Great fun It rolls right along, with bright inventive lyrics wonderful talent and terrific costumes a huge hit with the crowd
There is so much going on in this show that will be fun for you One of the biggest hits from the show is Epiphany sung by Paige. Its a lovely song sung beautifully. Another touching song is Beautiful Secret as two lovers sing about their love. They finish in a roaring crescendo with Watch Me Shine, a song that was from the Gay Games in Sydney in 2002. Its a great anthem a la Les Miz.
All in all the show displayed wonderful talent, great fun lyrics, and terrific costumes. Loved it.
RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!
Lee Hartgrave, Beyond Chron
Watch Me Shine is a glittering revue a cheeky journey through 80 years of gay history and social evolution that features six very talented actors and singers
The score by Richard Link has country, blues, Broadway-type show stoppers, gospel, pop and a great torch song the score is fresh and very likable. Adam Sandels lyrics are well written and clever...
All of the artists shine in this revue Nick Kealy is especially good in the redneck song called No Son of Mine. The song has a frightening reality about it. Nick is also great with Kieleil de Leon in I Will Be Right Here that is very soul searching. Kieleil is also great leading the chorus in Take It Like a Man.
Jeffrey Van Dyk gives a smooth performance in all of his songs. He is especially good in the duet number Beautiful Secret sung with great passion with Nick Kealy as his partner. Jeffrey is also sublime in I Wonder if Im Really Gay which sports some very Cole Portertype lyrics from the pen of Adam Sandel. Arthur Scappaticci shines in I Am There about AIDS. Paige Boston belts out Epiphany like a pro with a powerful voice. Estelle Mays is engaging in her renditions of This Is Me and God Loves His Children with a great gospel sound.
Richard Connema, TalkinBroadway.com
Watch Me Shine actually shines a big-hearted yet physically small show
Each performer does have a moment to shine. Paige Boston swings in the bluesy Miss Minnies Sweet Shop, Arthur Scappaticci bubbles in the honky-tonk Nobody Knows, Kieleil De Leon and Nick Kealy are touching in I Will Be Right Here, a ballad about the AIDS epidemic, Estelle Mays is an amusing enemyan Anita Bryant-like fundamentalist in God Loves His Childrenand Jeffrey Van Dyk is an atypical fellow in I Wonder if Im Really Gay.
the LGBT community are apt to enjoy [this] uplifting look on their past, present and futureand one that gives them any number of anthems for continued inspiration.
Leslie Katz, Oakland Tribune
A touching, titillating, witty, backward glance at love.
Fast-paced though surprisingly comprehensive in its coverage, Watch Me Shine, the new musical revue by Adam Sandel (book and lyrics) and Richard Link (composer) is a perceptive and irreverent kickoff to San Francisco Pride 2005.
Cocktails in hand to toast the good times of both past and present, the cast delivers a rousing recollection of gay times from the 20s to the present. In The Partys Just Beginning, a Cole Porterinspired homage to 100 gays and lesbians who have left their indelible cultural marks on centuries of recorded history, the writers paired Sappho with Sophocles, Colette with Nijinsky, Larry Hart with Capote, Alexander the Great with Liberace, Garbo and Janet Gaynor with Rock Hudson, and a brief mention of closeted J. Edgar Hoover. One hundred! Count em and drink up!
Watch Me Shine runs the musical gamut from jazz to pop, gospel (Estelles God Loves His Children and Arthur and the Companys Give Them Hope,) plus a sweet lullaby, a love lyric, blues and country. A mostly up tempo (predictably so) program, but with an occasional number reflecting discontent or anger.
The sextet of performers reprise the personal and political highlights of 80 years of gay and lesbian suffragegood times and bad. Rummaging through the wild but closeted Harlem of the 20s, then into the campaign of the openly gay Harvey Milk, the devastation of what the medical profession referred to as gay cancer, to the Greenwich Village [Stonewall] confrontation that was a major victory over flagrant police oppression, and into an era of social and political freedom clouded by the militarys Dont Ask Dont Tell policy. Then on to the acceptance of gay parenting, and the current on-again, off-again traumas of same-sex marriage. Its a musical memory with snippets of 2000 gay history facts in a little over an hour.
Already well known to local cabaret and theater goers, the sextet of diverse vocal and comedic performances are by Paige Boston, Kieleil De Leon, Nick Kealy, Estelle Mays, Arthur Scappaticci, and Jeffrey Van Dyk. Choreography and a wide range of costume changing reflecting the passing decades were by James DuBeq. Presiding at the piano, composer Link was accompanied by Damon Bennett on bass and Brian Fruechtenicht on drums.
I especially liked Whos Your Daddy? a delightful ditty sung in tandem by Arthur and Kieleil, Estelle and Paige to their individual newborns. Later the quartet joins in a soaring version of We are One. Swathed in furs and dripping in glitter, Paige coyly reveals her lesbian taste in a breathy, sexual reminiscence of Miss Minnies Sweet Shop. Nick was particularly impressive in his angry denunciation of No Son of Mine. Nick and Jeffrey say it all, and say it very well in Its About Love.
An underdressed version of the Village People makes a brief appearance; Jeffrey delivers a passionate vocal in his Beautiful Secret duet with Nick, and Kieleil lends his ringing bass to the companys Take it Like a Man. Watch Me Shine is a something for everyone show. The Company melds voices in a reprise of Watch Me Shine and in a final refrain sings: Come on out, join the fun. Spread the word, everyone. The party has begun.
Gene Price, SF Bay Times
San Francisco songwriters Adam Sandel and Richard Link are honoring that legacy with Watch Me Shine, a musical revue that attempts to squeeze all of gay and lesbian history into 22 songs and 90 minutes.
Sandel says the songs encompass closeted love from the early 20th century, Cole Porterlike naughty songs from the 30s, rebellious songs from the 1960s Stonewall era, disco from the liberated 70s and then a huge range of emotion and sound from the 80s on with the AIDS epidemic up to the flashpoint of gay marriage.
Weve tried to tell the story using the pop styles of various eras, Sandel says. And whats really interesting is how closely popular entertainment, especially in the last century, is interwoven with gay and lesbian history.
In the title song, which was written for and performed at the Gay Games in 2002 in the Sydney Opera House, Sandel encapsulates the essence of gay pride: Within my heart/The love is strong/For those whove come/Before and gone./And for the ones/Whose life is new/This trail I blaze/Belongs to you.
Chad Jones, Oakland Tribune
This big-hearted mini musical history of the gay and lesbian experience by Adam Sandel (book and lyrics) and Richard Link (composer) spills festively into the sociable dining room at Michaels Octavia Lounge, singers venturing out and back from the small corner stage for costume changes or a little audience mingling as Link at the piano leads a smooth trio of accompanists.
Interlarded with short intros by the six-member cast, the 22-song revue flies across roughly 80 years in about 80 minutes, beginning with a wry description of the furtive 1920s in the Cole Porterlike Nobody Knows, bounding forward to Stonewall only a love ballad later with the up-tempo Village People tribute Take It Like a Man, and continuing through the challenges and triumphs of the next three and a half decades with anthems like Give Them Hope, a roaring gospel number attacking right-wing Christian bigotry called Give It Up, and a playful stroll through parenting called Whos Your Daddy? W hile the lighthearted and sincere can occasionally blur into the sentimental, director Sandels likable cast ensures the shows celebratory mood remains the dominant key.
Robert Avila, Bay Guardian