By Noah Michelson
Simply put, Everyday Rapture is really funny and entertaining, and often quite moving, but, man, it's weird, and it only gets weirder as it goes along. You see, the Sherie whom Scott portrays here -- which reportedly is sort-of, but not wholly, based on Scott herself -- grew up in Kansas half-Mennonite ("It's Amish-light," she explains, just one of the show's endless witticisms, delivered in a perfect crazy-girl deadpan) and, all through her youth, felt torn between being meek and quiet and not drawing attention to herself, as her religion preached, and wanting to SING OUT! and command attention, as her inner heart preached.
The journey to find common ground between these two initially conflicting impulses is the operating conceit for the show. We learn that Sherie was hopelessly torn between her two idols, Jesus and Judy (Garland, duh), and both gay icons are incorporated into this show in ways that are both hilarious and sweet. Also very
sweet are Scott's beautifully shaded, melancholy readings of "It's You I Like" and "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which loomed large in her childhood. (The arrangements for this show are also gorgeous and violin-drenched, recalling those from another landmark diva-fest that Sherie clearly knows well.)
Through the show's halfway point, you are following Scott -- at least as much as you could follow your old high-school bestie after she'd amped herself up on a venti mocha latte. But then, Scott's show goes into the most deliciously, intriguingly strange territory we've seen in a long time in a fairly big-budget New York musical production. A whole segment, featuring the abundant talents of adolescent Eamon Foley, explores the fact that Sherie is the first Broadway quasi-star to go public with the fact that she became obsessed with an anonymous fan's own lip-syncing YouTube obsesssion with her. Here, Sherie bravely reveals the depths of her egotism in a funhouse-mirror routine of kabuki precision. And we didn't even mention the whole deal with her gay cousin Jerome and how his funeral is shouted down by the evil Rev. Fred Phelps and his progeny, one of which is Sherie's own friend. Or the fact that the songs here are by folks like Tom Waits, Roberta
Flack and David Byrne.
Sherie, you are that crazed showtune-belting bestie we've missed so much since graduation from Dullsville High, and we're happy that you're now getting all the attention you so deeply craved -- er, deserved.
-- TIM MURPHY
Previously > Whore Works works NYC's Kraine Theatre