Cabaret Review: “Fragments of Marilyn” at the Laurie Beechman Theatre

June 19, 2016 | Cabaret | Tags:
Review: “Fragments of Marilyn” at the Laurie Beechman Theatre
With Marissa Mulder
Directed by Sondra Lee
Musical Direction by Jon Weber
Reviewed by Joseph Verlezza
Theatre Reviews Limited

“Fragments of Marilyn” is much more a theater piece than a cabaret show as presented at the Laurie Beechman Theater by the talented actor/singer Marissa Mulder. It can be described as a stream of consciousness monologue interrupted by splinters of musical numbers with lyrics that reveal the hurt and pain of one of the most famous of Hollywood idols. These may be fragments of the complicated movie star icon but by the end of the disjointed hour, Ms. Mulder prevails in creating the emotional whole of an often misconstrued and broken woman. She merely alludes to the people who surrounded her life and contributed to the misery with no names and no blame, but with an outpouring of what the situations made her realize and feel. She is intelligent, wise, vulnerable, depressed, and angry with the soul of a child trapped inside the body of a woman, which is the one attribute she trusts and uses to capture success. It is not an easy show to watch or perform. It is not about the sexy, blonde bombshell image that seized the public eye. It is a peek at the abuse, abandonment, loneliness and fear as well as a celebration of the resilience to survive as divulged in the writings of a candid celebrity, worshiped by the masses but incapable of being loved.

Early on we hear a revealing rendition of “It’s Only a Paper Moon” exposing the shallow emptiness and glamorous façade of the Hollywood she embraced. A rendition of “Don’t Rain On My Parade” releases the anger, persistence and determination needed to defeat those who tried to control her life. One of the most telling closing musical numbers is “Hurt” which accentuates her despair and acceptance of being lonely and alone. Ms. Mulder does not look or for that matter sound like the infamous persona but she embodies and amazingly becomes the unmitigated Marilyn Monroe, blemishes and all. Her voice is clear, powerful and penetrating as she discovers a full range of emotions to translate the lyrics. She mesmerizes the audience, is fascinating to watch and a joy to hear. If there is a chance to catch this remarkable piece of cabaret theater in the future, don’t hesitate, not one moment will disappoint.