“THE STOPS” – At NCTC – Come On and Get A Faith Lift

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Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

“Is your belief system starting to wrinkle?” sings bass-voiced Rose Rabinoweitz Rigdale (Jonathan Reisfeld), a Unitarian Jewess from New Jersey recently divorced from her Roman Catholic husband. “Are you sagging with the ravages of life?” questions belter Ginny Dooley (David Bicha), a blonde floozie Lennon-sister type with a penchant for spirits in a bottle. Euglena Belcher (tenor Cameron Cummings), a chapter & verse Nazarene from Branson, has the Answer. “Perhaps you should make an appointment…” – and then in perfect 3-part harmony with her fellow church ladies – “to come under Dr. Jesus’ knife!”

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Johnathan Reisfeld – Cameron Cummings – David Bicha
Production photos, Lois Tema

Yes, it’s true. They met for the first time at the recent NAGLO (the North American Guild of Lady Organists) Convention. Who knew they could sing? Like an ecumenical Andrew Sisters! This newly-formed trio of Sunday Service organists turned singing divas – now known as “The Stops” – have stumbled into the spotlight. They go on, “Come on and get a faith lift, the Doctor will see you now. He’ll take your religion and tuck it up a smidgen. And when He’s done? Holy Cow! There’ll be a new you, in the pew, you. Don’t want to go to hell, do you? So, come on and get a faith lift – some Ecclesiastic sur-ger-y.”

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David Bicha – Johnathan Reisfeld

Directed by F. Allen Sawyer, THE STOPS – now at New Conservatory Theatre Centre through June 25th, is the San Francisco premiere of Eric Lane Barnes’ fabulously Fundamental show concerning three lady organists on a musical crusade. The Stops are determined to debut the Sacred and Secular songs of their discoverer, Dale Meadows. It seems Mr. Meadows was just outed by some righteous busy-body. Consequently, he has lost his job as a church Music Director. Oy! But Meadows is convinced The Stops have the brand of energy and harmony that will sell his message to the world. Despite their doctrinal differences, The Stops believe it too.

You can believe that Musical Director G. Scott Lacy and Choreographer Stephanie Temple have created lots of harmonious sparks for “The Stops” at NCTC. Johnathan Reisfeld is an edgy comedian with an alluring and vibrant bass sound. David Bicha is gorgeous in drag and packs a major wallop in a gospel-type solo. Cameron Cummings has found a perfect role for his strong high tenor. These three “Stops” – like their characters – have come together at just the right time. Their comedic and musical harmony is a true revelation.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: THE STOPS

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Johnathan Reisfeld – David Bicha – Cameron Cummings

“Drip drip drop, the raindrops plop.
God is punishing the wicked with a flood.
Trick-trick-trickle, I wish I had a nickel
for every sinner drowning in the mud.
We sail through the dark, happy as a lark,
on the HMS Noah’s Ark.
Drop drop drip, let the lightning rip.
Good-bye, cruel world!”
Music and lyrics by Eric Lane Barnes

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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