Tap into the holidays with Backwards in High Heels
This Holiday season the San Jose Repertory Theatre is playing Backwards in High Heels, a musical biography of Ginger Rogers, and two hours of toe tapping fun. It is a fantastic show that is great for an all-age audience, even those who have never heard of Ginger Rogers.
Who hasn’t heard of Ginger Rogers?? Oh, just my 18 year old daughter, to my mortification. However, when lights went up at intermission she turned to me and exclaimed, “OMIGAWD I LOVE THIS!” As I’ve said before, this girl is San Jose theatre’s toughest critic, so this says a great deal about the show. She is young enough to not understand many of the old Hollywood references, but the story does not depend on them, neither do they depend on the singing and dancing. It is just a really great story about a very interesting woman. Oh, and there is quite a lot of great singing and dancing as well!
It follows Ginger from age 14 in 1925 until the Academy Awards in 1940. Much of the story is narrated by her mother Lela, played by Heather Lee. One of the most entertaining scenes in the show is when Lela tells the story of Ginger’s alcoholic father, whom Lela divorced when Ginger was 4 – played with over-the-top physical acting and a strobe light, it appears you are watching an old time silent film. An interesting woman in her own right, Lela ends up watching her adoring and very attached daughter grow into a strong business woman who insists on making her own decisions in life. Not a lot of time is spent on Fred Astaire, which is probably how Ginger Rogers would want it. She seems to have spent much of her adult life trying to convince people she could be successful on her own, not just as half of a team.
Anna Aimee White quite capably plays Ginger Rogers from a perky teenager to the self assured woman she becomes, and is a great singer and dancer. Heather Lee is outstanding as the mother who truly wants only the best for her child but must stand back and watch her make mistakes on her own. A surprise standout is Christianne Tisdale who plays everyone from Ethel Merman, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, to, cross-dressed, Ginger Roger’s French fourth husband. While Heather Lee brings a quiet seriousness to the story, Christianne Tisdale brings a lot of comedy. Most of the cast outside of White play multiple roles, and they are all outstanding.
To make it even easier for the family to enjoy this show during the holiday season, Creative Playshops are held during each Saturday matinee for children ages 6 to 12 in the Rep’s upstairs studio theatre. Led by SJ Rep professionals, these playshops explore the imagination through interactive theatre activities related to the themes of the play. Just drop the kids off before the show, enjoy the performance and pick them up afterward! Single tickets are $10, Playshop subscriptions are $48.
LGBT Night: Out ‘n’ About Night will be Friday, December 10. The evening will start with a VIP pre-show reception with wine, appetizers and a festive goodie bag. Participants will be treated to parterre seating for the show, and immediately after the show they can meet the cast in the Curtain Call Patron Lounge.
Friday, December 10, 6pm to Midnight
Call the Box Office at 408 367-7255 and ask for the Out ‘n’ About rate.