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Reviews & Articles - Chocolate Confessions by Joan Freed

Reviews & Articles - Chocolate Confessions by Joan Freed

In 'Chocolate' the singing is
delicious, the comedy sweet


In Joan Freed’s delightful one-woman show, “Chocolate Confessions,” some of the most interesting, seldom-heard songs from the pantheon of musical comedy fill the stage when you least expect them.

     Freed is a fine comedian and a wonderful chanteuse, and she’s come up with an endearing, too-familiar frame to hang the tunes on – the loosely wrought story of a woman, Coco Bliss, who runs a chocolate shop and meets all sorts of female characters (all played by Freed, of course) who can’t get enough of the sweet stuff.

     There’s the chocolate junkie in leather and a pink wig (“Put the chocolate in the bag, and no one’ll get hurt”), the sultry chocoholic in an evening gown who hangs out in piano bars spooning pot de crème, the romance-novel junkie who likes her men just like her chocolate, dark, full-bodied and rich. There’s even a hilarious rap song by Freed whose lyrics go by too quickly.

     Like chocolate, we get a little, but we want more. There’s a short history lesson on chocolate, with its Maya/Aztec roots and its aphrodisiac attributes.

     But what Freed really brings to the evening, despite her wonderful skill with quick character change (from squeaky utterance to Texas drawl) is her wonderful singing voice. With musical arrangements and keyboard accompaniment by Craig Jones, she offers an assortment of obscure songs that I wish she had credited in the program, selections by Kurt Weill, Jule Styne and others.

     Some of the lyrics have been altered to suit the chocolate-craving theme. But most were sung with original lyrics, including a fabulous, wistful torch song, “It’s Hot in Here” by Amanda McBroom, and “Life Story” from “Closer Than Ever” by Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire.

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