Some of you in the know may know who Shoshana Bean is and good for you! I admit, I’m new to the Shoshana Bean camp, but glad to be signed up!! After appearing on Broadway in the original Broadway production of “Hairspray” and the first replacement for the green-skinned witch Elphaba in Broadway’s “Wicked”, Bean has been gracing the stage and showcasing her talents including a recent headliner in the burlesque show, “Peepshow” in Vegas.
For now you can see Shoshana in the original musical at the Open Fist Theatre in Los Angeles entitled, “Dear John Mayer”. With music and lyrics written by Bean as well as a co-producer credit, the show centers around Bean’s character Stevie. Recently divorced at 30 and now living with her mother, Stevie decides to give her singing career one more chance while she spends her days as a hairdresser for Jewish middle-aged housewives. Obsessed with John Mayer, Stevie begins a video blog in which she logs on everyday speaking to a non-listening Mayer. Stevie hopes to someday meet her idol and even has aspirations of romance. I hear from a close friend of mine, who knows the star that the premise of admiration for Mayer isn’t very far from the truth for Bean.
When a big time record exec named James, stumbles upon Stevie’s vblog, he’s impressed and begins to inquire about our protagonist’s talent. The excitement for a potential career in the music industry proves to be nothing short of an overwhelming experience that leads into the next phase of Stevie’s adventures.
Told through musical numbers that showcase Stevie’s vocal talents and ability to perform, “Dear John Mayer” makes you fall in love with the main character and the actress. Most of the numbers are performed by Stevie and her imaginary backup singers, the Mayerettes performed with hilarious duality by Melanie Nyema and Dionne Gipson. Together the Mayerettes slink onto the stage from under the bed or out of the closet whenever Stevie begins a new number.
As mentioned before all songs and lyrics are written by Bean and there isn’t a sour note to be found. Bean has an ability to write a power ballad or high energy song that’s infused with blues and dance all at the same time. Choreography is spot on by Eboni Nichols, which has the audience dancing in their seats similar to a concert versus a musical. These numbers have more consistency and cohesiveness than some current Broadway shows. Stellar numbers include, “Five Minutes”, “Mr. Fix It”, “Hungover” and “Gin And Cigarettes”.
What clicks for “Dear John Mayer” is a combination of its star, Bean and the fresh and relevant topic of the current state of the music industry. Adding to that is music and lyrics that speak to an audience that listens to today’s pop, but has an appreciation for music that incorporates R&B, Blues fused with clever lyrics.
“Dear John Mayer” is part of the First Look Festival, which is a collection of new plays and music for nine weeks only. Try and catch this original and fresh piece of theatre while it’s hot. I’ve heard through the grapevine that Bean is in a testing phase with the show, but has plans to tour and possibly have a run in New York. Stay tuned and join the Facebook Fan Page: facebook.com/dearjohnmayer
Download Shoshana Bean’s solo album: “Superhero”: