“Respect – A Musical Journey of Women” is not your average hit musical. There are no extravagant set designs, elaborate lighting schemes, numerous costume changes or even intricate musical numbers involving a colossal cast.
There were no scenic backdrops and at no point did glitter or fake precipitation rain down from the ceiling, causing the audience to gasp in wonder.
But the show is incredible.
While it was simple, it is easily now one of my favorites. It may not be as complex as most musicals, but it makes up for it in the talent of the cast, song choice, comedic effect, topic and the feeling you get when you are leaving the theater — it’s that rare feeling you got in school when you attended a class, actually learned something and had the time of your life doing it.
Because “Respect” is much more than a musical, it’s the best and most hilarious educational lesson on women’s history you’ll ever take, and I suggest every woman go see it while they can. (Men should go see it, too, but especially women.)
Respect is now being performed at the Herberger Theater, and as the site advertises, the show is a “funny exuberant look at the lives of women as told through 50 of your favorite Top 40 songs of the last 100 years.”
The show features many hit songs, and while not every age group may know every song, the show does an excellent job of picking songs so that everyone in the theater knows a large number of them.
I had never heard “Whatever Lola Wants” before I saw the musical, but it was hugely entertaining to watch the small cast of four women sing “These Boots Are Made for Walking” and Britney Spears’ “Oops! I Did it Again.”
They also performed hits such as “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” “Sixteen Going On Seventeen,” “At Seventeen,” “I Will Survive” and, of course, the song the show was named after, “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”
One of the best aspects about the show is that it portrays issues almost every woman goes through or has gone through, such as waiting by the phone for a guy to call, job equality, wanting to be seen as more than a housewife, relationships and break ups, making it a highly relatable musical and not just one the audience enjoys purely because it’s fun to watch.
The four women starring in the show — Heather Paton, Rachel Richards, Carlita Victoria and Sarah Shahinian, who is also the director — portrayed different famous women throughout history, women who were known for their strength, talent, motivation and accomplishments in different aspects of life.
Marilyn Monroe, Rosa Parks, Coco Chanel and Michelle Obama are just a small number of the many women either portrayed or discussed in the show.
“Respect – A Musical Journey of Women” is an important show. And it’s not because it’s hilarious and has a talented cast of singers and actresses. It’s because no matter how smart you are or how much you know about women’s history, you’ll leave the theater knowing something new.
And you’ll also leave the theater proud to be a woman after witnessing years of incredible and talented women making history and overcoming obstacles. This inspiring of a show should not be missed.
“Respect” will be performed through March 2 and tickets can be purchased online at the Herberger’s site or at the Herberger Theater box office. Tickets start at $53, but some discounts may be available.