Let’s get this straight right up front: Mimi J can sing her face off.
And for two hours, including a 15-minute intermission at Coral Spring's Broward Stage Door Theatre, the Miami-born singer does exactly that in “On the Radio: Sounds of the 70s,” a cabaret-like performance upgraded to the stage with theatrics such as thrilling costume changes and video projections.
At first, she looks a little lonely up there on the multi-platform set, just her and a digital band as she launches into some Stevie Wonder and Carole King.
But soon, (though it should be sooner), she is joined by the pirouetting and indefatigable dancers Joey Lopez and Luke Stockton. Their appearance allows Mimi J to stop traipsing her elegantly-costumed and luscious “Jessica Rabbit” curves up and down stairs and take her place in the center of the frame, where she belongs.
Intensely likable with a booming voice that has sung backup for the likes of Gloria Estefan and Bobby McFerrin, she has a real talent for inserting conversation into the songs and peppering them with lots of “honey” and “baby” exclamations. At times, her vocals overpower the “virtual band,” making the recordings sound wimpy. But her ease with an audience obviously has been honed by appearing in national tours of “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Smokey Joe’s Café,” “Fame” and “Rent.”
Mimi J invites the audience to sing along, and they do, particularly on The Carpenters’ take on “(They Long To Be) Close to You,” Ike and Tina Turner’s version of “Proud Mary,” Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia” and Donna Summers’ “On the Radio.”
With a minimum of stage patter — sometimes inventive, but very often not — she does resplendent versions of hits from the likes of ABBA, Al Green, Paul McCartney, the Jackson 5, Chaka Khan and Queen. And though there are some campy moments in the video interludes between segments (featuring throwback commercial jingles such as “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz” and “I am stuck on Band-Aid brand ‘cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me”), there is no over-the-topness in her respectful renditions of these ’70s hits.
The star of the show has turned the Me Decade into the Mimi Era.
“On the Radio: Sounds of the 70s” is running through July 27 at Broward Stage Door Theatre, 8036 W. Sample Road, in Coral Springs. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets cost $38 ($16 for students). Call 954-344-7765 or go to StageDoorTheatre.com.
Copyright © 2015, South Florida