MARGE HELENCHILD in
I’m Not That Girl (How I got from there to here!)
Don’t Tell Mama
Taking the stage dressed in a lovely man-styled suit with a rainbow tie celebrating PRIDE, Marge Helenchild was a gorgeous/handsome androgynous vision! This all made complete sense because her opening number was “Masculine Woman, Feminine Men” (L: Edgar Leslie & M: James V. Monaco) which asked the question…”which is the rooster, which is the hen?” What shocked me is that this amazing “protest” song was written in 1925!
I have heard Ms. Helenchild sing many times at the various Open Mics in town and have always enjoyed her voice and work. I had no idea she had as rangy a voice as she has…this was a really pleasant bonus! It’s a lovely voice!
Ms. Helenchild’s song list featured many popular songbook and theater tunes like: “I’m Not That Girl” (Stephen Schwartz from Wicked, 2003); “Have You Got Any Castles, Baby?” (L: Johnny Mercer & M: Richard A Whiting from Varsity Song, 1937); and “She Loves Me” (L: Sheldon Harnick & M: Jerry Bock from She Love Me, 1963) but, of course, all were delivered with a longing energy of a young woman discovery her sexual identity. There were also 3 wonderful original tunes from a show called Developing Daisy written by Helen Newman & Stephen Glickman that were very special as well.
This show, directed by Helen “Madeleinechid” Baldassare (this first name of your mother with “child” is a nod to feminism) was carefully and thoughtfully put together. It was a perfect show to end PRIDE Month so I was glad to be in that room. Instead of “girl meets boy” it was simply “girl meets girl and finds herself”…no issue, no disclaimer! If we are celebrating human equality…why should there be a disclaimer? It was a beautiful story made all the better with Tracy “Shirleychild” Stark on the keys and back up vocals.
Tracy Stark is a singer’s best friend on stage. I asked Ms. Helenchild if I could use two minor “bumps” in the show as a compliment to her and Ms. Stark and she agreed.
Firstly, there was a moment when Ms. Helenchild didn’t come back in as planned at the bridge but, to her credit, she waited, trusted Ms. Stark to come back around, which she did because she is always there, so no one was the wiser. This was because there was no indicator on Ms. Helenchild’s face or in her energy that there was a “mistake”. I only knew because I knew the song. It was handled perfectly and I am mentioning this so that we can all learn.
The other minor thing that happens to us all is a lyric drop. Ms. Helenchild forgot a few words on the aforementioned, “She Love Me” but here’s the thing, that song is all about being so excited about being in love that it almost seemed a part of the song and natural when she sang, “…she loves me, and I can’t remember, oh who cares, because she love me…”! Really, who cared…it was completely charming and again, she did not stop or indicate…she went forward.
All her ballads were beautifully set up with lovely, poignantly delivered stories. I would say that she can maybe put a little more sex in some of these tunes like in her rendition of “(S)He Touched Me” (Ira Levin & Milton Schafer). She got the anticipation and joy but it needed a little more of that pre-first kiss, can’t catch my breath, excitement.
Her choices from her 11:oo number to her audience thanks were wonderful and left us happy and feeling proud! It was a perfect show for PRIDE Month but it’s just a great show in general. It was nice to get to know you better Marge!
Sue “Jacquelinechild” Matsuki