by Susan Hasho
Lillias White returned to The Triad for performances of The Birthday Show
By all possible definitions of the word: Lillias White is Hot! And she really knows how to throw herself a birthday party! Performing for 3 nights at The Triad, she packed the house and then some. The theme was love and empowerment. And after introducing herself as age 65 and then doing more than several squats in rhythm and with abandon, she did indeed prove that 65 is just a number.
She began with the song “People Want Truth or Nothing at All” and got the house rocking right off the bat. Saying, “I am now officially a grown up,” she let fly with the squats and then said, “This ain’t your grandma’s 65. And I want to celebrate life and truth!”
In tribute to Barak Obama, on the subject of how sexy he is, she sang “He Was Cool.” In tribute to her own life and process, she said she worked on herself to improve her unhappy choice of ne’er-do-well men and put on several different wigs and personnas to illustrate her varying transformations before singing “Nothin’ in Life Is Free; Nothin’ from nothin’ leads to nothin’. No romance without finance.” This was a very full throated declaration of freedom—and God knows Lillias White is free. Her voice is strong, rich and beautiful. It goes everywhere she wants it to, bringing everyone in the audience with her.
Next was “Run Outta You” by the band Vintage Trouble; and then a powerfully relevant Nina Simone song “Mississippi Goddamn” which Lillias has updated to include all the names of the Black men recently shot by police in this country. This proved to be one of the most powerful moments of the evening and brought the cheering audience to their feet. In memory of Prince, she sang a joyous” I Wanna Be Your Lover” and “Somebody’s Somebody.” She closed the show with the song “Imitation of Life.” Clearly, Lillias White is celebrating life in this show, and herself—but real, no imitation here.
Musical director Timothy Graphenreed is featured on piano with Gary Haase on bass and Buddy Williams on drums. White’s back-up singers are Ramona Keller, Kojo Littles and Clayton Bryant.
Next up, she’ll star in the Broadway-bound musical Gotta Dance, which is scheduled to open later this year in Chicago. You are now informed. Keep your eyes on Lillias White.
www.TriadNYC.com (158 W. 72nd St.) The Birthday Show July 22 at 9 PM, July 23 at 11 PM and July 24 at 7 PM.