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Labohn and Company Spoof Fashion in 10th Anniversary Doctor’s Fund Show

Photo by Joseph R. Saporito

For a gala 10th anniversary Doctor’s Fund Benefit show, produced by Meryl Facterman and Lois McIntosh in association with the Arts Project of Cherry Grove, at the Community House on July 15, brilliant director Donald Labohn and his no less sparkling company spoofed fashion and design in some ebullient high jinks billed as “High Fashion Follies.” As Donald’s motto seems to be “leave them wanting more,” we reached the grand finale far too soon and, though weak from laughing so hard, could only cry out, “Already?” The fundraiser helped to support the Elmer Lindsay Memorial Center, Inc., which ensures the presence of a physician in Cherry Grove and maintains a doctor’s office and residence. Matt Baney, Sherri Rase, Michael Romanelli and Craig Williams shared technical responsibilities; Harold Seeley worked on sets and props; and Richard Cooley, on hairstyles and makeup for these “Follies.”

The curtain rose on a “Project Runway” send-up, with a fierce Urban Sprawl eliminating Margo and Lola, pronouncing Joan Van Ness the winner, and announcing, “And now, we’re going to see the collection,” as modeled by Charity, Ivanna Cocktail deputizing for a convalescing Luisa Verde (who made a cameo appearance at the end, with bandaged knee, pushing a broom), Donna Piranha, and Sylvia (Donald’s alter ego) and Shirley Shapiro (the last three sporting wildly extravagant “hair don’ts,” to borrow “Hairspray” lingo). Wearing “Don’t feed the model” tank tops with their fabulous black and white fashions, with red accents, the quintet of models deadpanned Madonna’s “Vogue” to kick off Donald’s singular vision.

For more ... visit the gallery by Joseph R. Saporito

To strains of “I am a very stylish girl,” a wry and glittering Cobra, as card girl, introduced Homecoming Queen Coco Love’s number as “The hidden facts about lingerie” and Coco, in pink gown and black bustier, trimmed with silver, told us what happens to a woman’s love life “if she’s wearing silk and satin.” The “ well dressed farmer’s daughter” segment cast our exquisite HQ as a sexy Daisy Mae type, averring that all she needs is “an old straw hat, a suit of overalls [very short ones], and a worn-out pair of shoes.” In “Denim … a fashion statement,” Gary Greene, Roger Cortez and Rob Ferri, in blue jeans and orange letter sweaters, wooed “Dungaree Doll” Margo, also in blue denim and orange top. The guys then became fodder for Fluffy, as a harem beauty in orange, openly expressing appreciation for male “Buns.”

“Does anyone still wear a hat?” found Dan Daly at the keyboard delivering, in song-speech and accents of Noel Coward, an original, hilarious ode to “the lady in the black cocktail hat,” with the Shapiros, Donna, Charity, Ivanna and Urban portraying those “ladies who lunch,” with frozen countenances, soon quite tipsy and anything but ladylike. “Fashion is a passion we spend cash on every day,” sang Dan, in another witty, catchy song that he wrote.

“A diff’rent kinda style” juxtaposed Lindsay Center President Joanne Tavis, Bobbie Green and Doreen Rallo’s break-dancing, in heavy gold chains and baggy sweats or jeans, with boxer shorts showing, with its cultural opposite, a foursquare Rat Pack declaration, “You’ve either got or you haven’t got syle.” In “Fashion cut ups and cut outs,” Joan clothed Margo, as her life-sized “Paper Doll,” in cut out paper finery. Exasperated shoe salesman Roger tried footwear on a finicky, then happily strutting Donna, desperately seeking “what makes a feminine girl,” in “If the shoe fits …,” and finding, finally, that “High heeled shoes make the lady.”

In “‘Old Fashioned’ Fashion Advice,” the Shapiros, their little black dresses embellished with feathers and jewels, urged, “Don’t be too old fashioned, old fashioned girl … give yourself that 1915 flair” with “powder and lipstick and rouge.” They donned huge lipstick, powder puff, rouge, and mascara (“I can do for you what I did for Theda Bara”) headdresses and tossed cosmetic samples to the audience. To a belted, Ethel Merman-style take on “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” in “A word to the wise … accessorize!” Charity adorned herself from a treasure chest full of jewelry. Margo was a “Second Hand Rose,” equipped with a rack of “second hand clothes” and, aspiring to no more than “Thrift Shop Chic,” expressing discontent with her lot.

Sylvia was the inspired designer, fervently exhorting, “Think Pink,” in “Sylvia sez … color it chic!” and, assisted by models Bobbie, Doreen, Joan, Lola, Coco and Urban, cornering the market on pink ties, Bermuda shorts, shirts, sneakers, slacks, gowns, and wigs, but haughtily asserting, about the hue, “I wouldn’t be caught dead in it!” Roger and Rob, cracking the whips, and Gary, all chained up, leashed, and giving in to “Temptation,” made a loving trio in the sexy, all black leather skit, entitled “Basic black without the pearls.”

When a tuxedoed Joann escorted and danced with elegant “Beautiful Girl” Lois Pisano, in “A Look for Every Occasion,” and it turned into a production number featuring Margo, Ivanna, Urban, Cobra, Donna (Cleopatra as bathing beauty), Lola, Fluffy, Sylvia, Coco, Charity (in purple fur), Shirley, and Lois, again, as brides, and Gary, Roger, Bobbie, Doreen, Joan, Rob, Dan, and Joann, again, as their grooms, we knew we had, indeed and, alas, too soon, arrived at the evening’s end, with only Joann’s presentation of an award from the Lindsay Center to Donald/Sylvia, for a decade of accomplishments, remaining as a grace note.

For more ... visit the gallery by Joseph R. Saporito

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