Opera divas let down their hair at the Fringe when old friends Daniella Sicari, Leah Guelfi and Caitlin Cassidy join forces for Let’s Misbehave! — a pastiche of jazz standards and other favourites at Lyric’s Underground, Maylands.
All three are back home where it all began at WAAPA studying classical voice, with theatres overseas and interstate going dark during the COVID pandemic.
“We met doing operatic studies but we also just have this love for jazz,” Sicari says. “It’s a genre where you can let your hair down, and between Italian (Sicari and Guelfi) and Irish (Cassidy) women we have a lot of hair to let down.”
UK resident before the pandemic, Sicari formed her own trad jazz band The Easy Rollers, appearing at festivals including the famous Edinburgh Fringe.
“It’s quite a mix,” Sicari says. “All the music that I do is early. With my band in the UK I take the lead with the jazz age and early swing.
“Caitlin has some jazz songs that are quite theatrical — a jazz standard has to have come from a show and then it becomes a stand-alone song at some point.
“Leah is really known for swing-big band stuff, that’s really her bag — On the Sunny Side of the Street — and Gershwin, Fascinating Rhythm, S’Wonderful — songs from a show now a jazz standard.
“We’re doing Cole Porter’s Let’s Misbehave, of course, because that’s the name of the show.
“And Rodgers and Hart’s Ten Cents a Dance — it’s about a woman who dances with men in a club for money and thinks that she’s met someone she might love, but it’s not so.
“All three of us sang that at WAAPA in different ways.”
Sicari also pays homage to the Andrews Sisters — Straighten Up and Fly Right — and to their inspiration, the Boswell Sisters: “They started as classical instrumentalists, and from 1925 they were all jazz and they paved the way with syncopated rhythm and tight three-part harmony.”
Let’s Misbehave! ran for one night in December and was sold out so Sicari says they’re doubling up shows to meet demand.
The singers are backed by Adrian Galante (piano and clarinet), Karl Brown (drums) and Danny Moss Jr (bass), who are also all local talent — a familiar theme across Perth amid international and interstate travel curbs and lockdowns.
Let’s Misbehave! is on January 16, at 8.15pm and 9.30pm (50-minute show), at Lyric’s Underground, Lyric Lane, Maylands.
Tickets available via www.lyriclane.com.au/gigs-events and www.fringeworld.com.au.
Later in the Fringe, Sicari teams with another operatic soprano, Eimear Foley, for an intimate night of Stephen Sondheim’s music in Side by Side, Downstairs at His Majesty’s Theatre.
Sondheim’s rich lyrics and dramatic settings offer a sumptuous menu.
“When you do a cabaret it can be a gig when you do ‘this’, and ‘this’, and ‘this’, or you can do something theatrical,” Sicari says.
“We wanted to do a cabaret and break the fourth wall and story tell, with heightened versions of ourselves.
“We wanted to tell these characters from our own experiences.”
Sicari came late to Sondheim but was determined after a show was cancelled last year.
“I hadn’t done much musical theatre but I kind of fell in love, and Eimear had done a lot in her studies (in New York) and a few performances,” Sicari says.
“It was something we wanted to explore.”
The show dwells on a quotation from Madame Armfeldt inA Little Night Music.
“She talks about how the summer night ‘smiles’ three times at the follies of human beings: ‘… The first smile smiles at the young, who know nothing … The second at the fools who know too little … and the third at the old who know too much’,” Sicari says.
The music is drawn from Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, Company, Follies and some lesser-known productions, all accompanied by fellow WAAPA graduate Joshua James Webb.
Side by Side is on January 27 to 30, at 5.30pm each night (50-minute show), Downstairs at The Maj.
Tickets are at www.ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/his-majestys-theatre/whats-on.