Cherdonna & Lou a diamond in the rough
 

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posted Friday, November 13, 2009 - Volume 37 Issue 46

Cherdonna & Lou a diamond in the rough
by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

The Cherdonna & Lou Show
November 13 and 20
West Hall, Oddfellows Building


If you're like me, you search high and low for good entertainment. Is it too much to ask for something different from all the rest? I don't think so. Well, Seattle, my journey through the labyrinth that is the Emerald City's arts and entertainment world led me to a diamond in the rough: The Cherdonna & Lou Show.

The 60-minute show is performed Friday evenings onstage at West Hall inside the Old Oddfellows Building on Capitol Hill. West Hall is a perfect fit; complete with a professional light and sound system, you are guaranteed to-pnotch entertainment infused with a glossy aesthetic. The Cherdonna & Lou Show is an evening inspired by celebrities and celebrity impersonators, and combines contemporary dance moves as they lip sync, piano sync, and tap sync their way through the decades in no particular order.

The show is nonstop fun, and you quickly realize that Jody Kuehner (Cherdonna) and Ricki Mason (Lou) are amazing dancers; the choreography is absolutely remarkable, to say the least. Each performer commands their own respect as an individual within the duo - it's as though they are separate while dancing as a pair. This is largely due to the fact that Mason is much taller than Kuehner, and Kuehner takes on the male role while Mason invokes the female aspect of the performance couple.

"It took us 99 hours in the studio to put the show together," Kuehner told SGN. "We began the process in August."

Kuehner and Mason say they've worked together on-and-off over the course of the past six years. "We started doing this type of cabaret work a few years ago and got a really great response, so this work has developed organically out of that," said Kuehner.

One of the most exciting parts of the show is the gender presentation. Each number - all of which are completely different from the songs preceding and following it - takes on the role of gender in a comedic, yet serious fashion. In addition, the audience is never told what to think; Kuehner and Mason simply present a piece and you draw your own conclusion from it. This is particularly evident when the duo is Sonny and Cher, singing "I Got You Babe" with Kuehner as Sonny Bono as a puppet. Not only is the musical number funny, but you are left with your own conclusion as to why they chose to make Bono the puppet, when in reality, it was Cher who followed Bono's lead during the '60s and early '70s.

Another great performance is the show's opening number, Abba's "Xanadu." The upbeat performance really showcases the dancing talent as well as communicates to the audience that The Cherdonna & Lou Show is not cabaret, nor modern dance, and is instead like nothing you've ever seen before.

Both Mason and Kuehner have an impressive resume of dance production and theater. Between the two, there isn't much they haven't done. "We put our biggest skills into this character work," Kuehner told SGN. "We are trying to build on what we are doing and finding new ways to make modern dance and cabaret mesh."

For Mason, the most exciting aspect of this body of work has been the opportunity to dive into Queer art and answer, at least for himself, what it means to be Queer in the world of art today.

Audiences have taken notice, and attendance is growing with each performance. The show's stars say they got off to a rocky start because audiences didn't really know what to expect. However, one month into the project, things have changed. "The audiences have been really amazing," Kuehner said. "We get an immediate response from them. It is clicking with people. The instant laughter when something is funny, or the instant applause when people see something they like, feels really exciting when you are performing."

The Cherdonna & Lou Show runs until November 20. The entertainment begins at 9 p.m., however general seating begins as early as 8 p.m. Appetizers and beverages are available for purchase as well. In addition to great entertainment, the all-ages show is a bargain. Tickets are available in advance for $12.50 or $15 the day of the performance. For more information about the show or to purchase tickets, visit www.centuryballroom.com. To book Cherdonna and Lou for an event, contact LouHenry@LaunchDanceTheater.com.



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