By DAVID KLEINMAN
For 21st Century Media
This one’s for the girls.
While your husband watches the Phillies play an away game with the Diamondbacks you can grab your team, get away and play at “Girls Night: The Musical,” making it’s splashy, over-the-top Keswick Theatre debut on April 25.
Even if you decide to bring hubby along cast members guarantee he’ll be done checking the score on his phone by the end of the first musical number.
“We get the husbands who thought ‘I’ll just get these tickets for my wife for a night out’ and they do walk out of the show completely entertained,” Leslie McQueen, who plays wise-cracking Anita, said in a recent phone interview.
“Right off the bat the guys are just the narrator of the show,” McQueen laughed. “I poke a little fun at them but they’re usually very good sports about it. We give them a little bit of an insight look at what it’s like being at the table of girls at girls night.”
The production transports audiences to a “pre-bachelorette” party at a karaoke bar, joining together five women from all walks of life who laugh about their experiences that are varied differently yet feel one and the same.
“A lot of the jokes you can kind of see coming, we see them coming because we do them everyday,” McQueen giggled, “but there’s the occasional dirty joke and jive at your friends, like you would in real life so I think it’s relateable. It’s humor we still have fun with to this day.”
“I’ve been doing the show for four years and there are so many moments on stage where I’m laughing uncontrollably and the audience loves that, they love to feel like you’re actually enjoying yourself. It’s that kind of show, you want the laughter onstage to be because you’re having fun with the audience.”
The musical portion of Girls Night isn’t only a spectator sport. Men and women alike are encouraged to get up, sing and dance in the aisles as the girls belt out such memorable hits as “It’s Raining Men,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “I’m Every Woman.” “Holding Out For a Hero’ and plenty of other fan-favorites.
Just as a little liquid courage gives the “Girls Night” characters the nerve to sing karaoke in front of their friends, sometimes an audience member will be feeling the spirits quite nicely and will want to join in with the cast for the fun onstage.
“It’s not like somebody trying to do that with ‘Les Miserables’ or ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ where it would be shocking,” opined Erin Baltsar, an Allentown native who plays party girl Carol. “We’re pretty comfortable letting them do the whole song with us and then we take them back to their seat, other times we just escort them right back down and sometimes we have security guards to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
It all depends on the location. While the Actors Temple Theater, where the production is held Off-Broadway, has a strict no-alcohol policy the Vegas venue and the upcoming Keswick show have wine and beer on-tap and the stars wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We kind of encourage the audience to drink because onstage we’re at a bar, we’re theoretically drinking,” said Baltsar.
“We actually aren’t drinking, lots of water,” chimed McQueen.
“We often joke with the audience that the more drinks they have the more fun it’s going to be,” Baltsar said.
Beyond the smiles of “Girls Night: The Musical” lies an underlying message of empowerment, acceptance and sisterhood that stays with audiences long after they’ve stopped humming the musical’s memorable melodies.
“Our finale is ‘I Will Survive’ and I think that song resonates more than any other because it can mean whatever you want it to mean,” McQueen said.
“We’ve had people come up to us after the show and say ‘I just beat breast cancer and that song really speaks to me and tells me I will survive’ or ‘I just got divorced and this song makes me think it’ll be okay’ or even ‘I just lost a child’,” she added.
“We’ve had so many people be totally moved by a song that to most of us is just a song but it’s really the magic that the show brings to a group of women, when everyone is together and uplifting one another.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Girls Night: The Musical”
WHERE: Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside.
WHEN: Show is at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 25.
TICKETS: Admission is $36-$56, $81 VIP.
INFO.: Call (215) 572-7650 or check www.keswicktheatre.com.
CONNECT: On Twitter @GrlsNiteMusical