Sherie Rene Scott in Everyday Rapture.
BOTTOM LINE: In her triumphant return to the Great White Way, powerhouse Sherie Rene Scott proves why she's been one of Broadway's go-to gal's for over a decade in this hilarious, semi-autobiographical, musical must-see.
Whether you're a die-hard fan or you're just now hearing her name for the first time, one thing is for sure: after seeing Everyday Rapture there is no disputing the star power and the staying power of one of Broadway's favorite leading ladies of the past decade, Sherie Rene Scott. Transplanted to the Great White Way after a successful run at the off-Broadway venue Second Stage, Everyday Rapture is the musical tale of a small-town girl, Sherie (based on and played by Scott), torn between two worlds which can be best represented by her two "lovers": Jesus and Judy (Garland). Born in rural America but destined to be a star in Manhattan, Sherie takes the audience on a journey as she makes the leap from singing in small-minded churches to belting it out on the stages in New York...all the while trying to reconcile her Mennonite past with her Broadway granddame future.
Like the conflicted worlds that the "character" Sherie vacillates between, the actress herself is full of paradoxes that make her performance, well, rapturous. Onstage she is self-aware yet uninhibited, strong yet vulnerable, poised yet awkward, utterly grounded and yet whimsically childlike, raunchy yet inviting. In Everyday Rapture, an always mesmerizing Scott is completely relatable, if not remarkably human - which is perhaps the biggest reason why this semi-autobiographical "Mennonite-to-Manhattanite" story is so successful. Unlike the many (not to mention unnecessary) "I MADE IT!" stories before it, Everyday Rature avoids being annoyingly self-indulgent and preachy, and for that you can thank the uber-talented, charmingly quirky leading lady (and playwright). Scott has a sense of humor about herself as evidenced by character Sherie's dead-pan delivery and the events from Scott's real life that she chose to dramatically reenact onstage (Of my many favorites? Being snubbed via YouTube by a young die-hard fan she reaches out to, only to be shut down virally by the pubescent, budding gay kid - played by Thirteen alum and the appropriately annoying Eamon Foley).
And then there's that voice. Made up of popular songs from hit-makers like U2, Elton John, Tom Waits and (of course) Garland, Everyday Rapture's score covers a range that is almost as wide as Scott's vocal and emotional ones, and Scott delivers hit after hit. Whether softly crooning, belting out a haunting power ballad (an SRS specialty) or modulating a la Garland in "Get Happy," Scott lures the audience in and makes intimate the American Airlines Theater (no small feat). Could Sherie Rene Scott have been singing just for me? She may as well have been. And no fear, Sherie fans – no semi-autobiographical tale of the actress would be complete without some perennial SRS favorites like "My Strongest Suit" from Aida (sung by the broad herself and lip-synched to awkward perfection by Foley in the above mentioned reenactment).
Everyday Rapture may not look like the quintessential Broadway musical, but what it lacks in costume changes and set pieces it makes up for in story and spirit. Like its leading lady, this show has heart. Perhaps because it was birthed from Scott herself and made the seemingly impossible leap for a 4-person, Hollywood-free show from thought to Broadway. In the age of DIY, Scott proves that nobody did it and nobody does it better than she.
One of the things I love most about a Broadway musical is that a really, truly great one will keep your toes tapping, your heart slightly out of its chest and transcend you to beyond the theater that you're sitting in which is exactly the experience I had watching Everyday Rapture. Without question, Scott's writing debut's move to and support from Broadway proves that if you dream it, you can do it. A fact that – along with the golden voice and acting chops of Scott – can't help but inspire and uplift even the most jaded New York theater-goer. A must-see for everyone.
(Everyday Rapture plays at the American Airlines Theater, 227 West 42nd Street. Performances are Tuesdays at 8pm, Wednesdays at 2pm and 8pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $66-$116.50 and can be purchased at roundabouttheatre.org or by calling 212.719.1300. Student rush tickets are $30 and are available at the box office on the day of the performance. For more show info visit roundabouttheatre.org/aat.)