Bodacious Ladyhood
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Bodacious Ladyhood

Band Comedy Cabaret


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"Bodacious Ladyhood Wins With All Girl Band"


All Girl Band, the new cabaret show at Thumper's, is a winning sophomore staging from Seattle's cleverly titled Bodacious Ladyhood. "Bits&Bytes" had fond memories of the group's first cabaret show, Some Eclectic Evening, last year on Thumper's Cabaret On The Hill series. This scribe was surprised-but delighted-to find his rave SGN quotes on the group's press release for All Girl Band. Way to go, Ladyhood!

The group's second cabaret show repeats the audacious mix of novelty numbers and solid three-part harmony from their freshman outing. With two great ensemble outfits-matching, color-coded blouses for the first set, black and copper glitz and glamour for Act II-the trio looked great and sounded great.

At their best with up-beat numbers, the trio often sings a cappella but also uses the talented Deanna Schaffer on piano. Ladyhood is officially Carolyn Hastings, Loretta Deranleau Howard and Jenny Buehler, but, like many "girl groups" (from The Andrews Sisters to The Supremes) they create a collective sound that no one member can replicate as a soloist.

Favorites: Barry Manilow's "Bandstand Boogie," an a cappella "Don't Put It In Your Mouth" (a favorite with the Gay men in the audience), a stylish gender-bending "Fugue For Tinhorns" (from Broadway's Guys & Dolls) and the Andrews Sisters' rarely performed "Strip Polka" (which featured an honorary "Queen" as Queenie, The Queen Of Burlesque. Last week, the man selected to be "Queen" got a good-hearted razing from his table of Gay friends).
- Seattle Gay News

"Sixty Years of Pop Music in 90 Minutes"

I love the primal power of a guitar chord as much as the next knuckle-dragger, but there's something uniquely inspiring and entertaining in the simple, timeless intertwining of singing voices in harmony. If it's done right, acapella singing can hopscotch genres and entertain with more versatility than even the most adroit rock musician can muster. And Bodacious Ladyhood do the (mostly) acapella vocal tango splendidly.

All Girl Band, the trio's current cabaret show, runs at Thumper's in Seattle, Fridays and Saturdays until October 1; I was fortunate enough to catch it last week, and I'm glad I did.

If you don't have a lot of patience for vocal-group shenanigans, fear not: The Ladyhood are one step ahead of you. Their set wryly touches on many of the format's cliches with knowing and loopy humor, even as they deliver the song selection with panache and passion. Andrews Sisters covers come a dime-a-dozen with vocal groups, but this ensemble playfully poked fun at that inevitability before unearthing a hilarious Sisters obscurity ('Strip Polka') and singing the hell out of it.

The remainder of their program last Friday bounced easily between doo-wop (a fun 'Why Do Fools Fall in Love'), swing ('Route 66', done to a cucumber-cool T), Broadway (well-chosen selections from A My Name is Alice and Guys and Dolls), Bacharach (a sublime and tight cover of 'Say a Little Prayer'), and even prog rock (BL's lush remake of Spock's Beard's 'June' totally beat the stuffing out of the original). They delivered several songs by Northwest acapella loonies Uncle Bonsai with relish, and their cover of Moxy Fruvous' 'Kick in the Ass' was flat-out hysterical. Even through the silliest material, none of the guffaws came at the expense of vocal finesse.

All three women--sopranos Carolyn Hastings and Loretta Deranleau Howard, and alto Jenny Buehler--are solid singers individually, and their distinctive pipes each added something to the mix. Hastings held the high end with angelic purity, Howard provided gospel belter's fire in the middle, and Buehler's creamy low notes lent nuance to the bottom end. Deanna Schaffer's fine ivory-tickling fleshed out the sound in all the right places. In the end, though, the ensemble's the thing, and all three voices interwove with un-self-conscious ease.

A really great acapella group can make even the most marginal pop song sound good. And these women reconfigured a Phil Collins song enough to make it palatable to me. That, my friends, is sheer flippin' genius.

posted by Tony Kay @
- PopCulture Petri Dish


Live recordings of their cabaret shows are available for promotional purposes. They have not yet released a cd.



February 1999 was the first time these gals occupied the same singing space, taking part in the startup of a new a cappella group that would be named The Sassycats. Over the next year, all three women would end up leaving the group for one reason or another.

The following three years found Jenny, Loretta and Carolyn hooking up at one gathering or another and they just couldn’t stop singing together. Mexican restaurant parking lots, friends’ living rooms, no place was exempt from their guerilla-style harmonizing.

Finally, at Carolyn’s wedding in 2003, it was suggested that they start singing together again, just for fun. By fall of 2003, plans for their first show were in the works.

The pivotal moment for this group came on December 31, 2003. At a New Year’s Eve party in the Wedgewood area of Seattle, after many hilarious jokes about what the group might be called, Bodacious Ladyhood was named.

Their first cabaret show was in September 2004 at Thumper’s on Capitol Hill in Seattle, adding Deanna Schaffer on piano for some of the songs. Some Eclectic Evening played to sold out houses and many repeat customers. Milton Hamlin of the SGN called it "a spirited revue" and "a fun, fun cabaret show." Their sophomore effort in 2005 brought the largest houses Thumper's had seen in months.

Though they identify as a Seattle group, the members live in Everett, Tacoma and Lacey. The fun and the harmony are definitely worth the commute!