Well, that certainly won’t be my “Last Dance” with SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical, given the fact that, ever since leaving Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, I cannot get the songs making up the 105-minute electrifying show out of my head. Or maybe it has more to do with the fact that the three lead actresses — LaChanze, Ariana DeBose, and Storm Lever — so perfectly tell the late Queen of Disco’s story at different stages of her life.
This stage production chronicles Donna’s life from when she was a little girl, to her prime as a music icon, to when she was diagnosed with lung cancer, from which she sadly died in 2012 at age 63. But SUMMER is about celebrations, not passings, and this show delivers with unforgettable tunes (“Love to Love You Baby,” “Heaven Knows,” “Bad Girls,” and “I Feel Love,” to name a few), flashy and fun costumes that make you feel like it’s the 1970s again, a well-executed set, and high-energy choreography — all of which is highlighted by impeccable acting.
LaChanze is a true stand out, effortlessly shifting between playing Diva Donna and Donna’s mother, Mary Gaines. Her co-star, Storm, was just as impressive with her portrayal of both Duckling Donna and young Mimi, Donna’s eldest daughter, who is 45 years old today.
At the same time, it needs to be said that the entire company did a fantastic job at making the audience feel like they had traveled back decades in time. The choreography was entertaining and sharp, the costumes could not have been more on-point, and each and every actor seamlessly switched from singing to acting to dancing.
A personal highlight of the show? The “Hot Stuff” act where the theatre lit up like Yankee Stadium — bright lights were turned on, red flashing lights were going wild, and silver confetti was falling from the sky. To say it was invigorating is an understatement.
The show concludes with the entire crowd joining in, dancing and enjoying life together to “Last Dance” as the company prances around the stage in stunning white, sparkly costumes. Now that’s a way to spend a Tuesday night!
Be sure to check out SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical before it’s too late!