Out actor sings new play’s tunes

Out actor sings new play’s tunes

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“Five women go out to celebrate an engagement and they go out to a karaoke bar,” described out actress Alexandra Rush as the premise of her current theater gig. “It follows their night and you get some reflection and memories.”

Wait, this sounds familiar.

“It’s ‘Desperate Housewives’ meets ‘Sex and the City’ meets ‘Mamma Mia.’ It’s about friendships we’ve held on to over time, the friends and family we hold near and dear to our hearts, that we love no matter what.”

Hold on. Is “Menopause: The Musical” coming back? Is “Respect: A Musical Journey of Women” being held over?

Not exactly, but the show Rush is talking about, “Girls Night: The Musical,” sounds eerily similar to the aforementioned productions. “Girls Night” runs through May 23 at the Kimmel Center’s Innovation Studio. And since it features Rush, a rising 23-year-old Haverford-born gay talent, our interest in the production has been piqued.

“I’ve been interested in this my whole life,” Rush said about landing the role. “I’ve been trying to get into acting professionally for a long time. I went onto the Philadelphia Theater Alliance’s website and they had a posting for the audition. I read a little blurb about it and I thought, this looks like an awesome show. I saw a listing of the different songs that they had in the show and I was just like, wow, that is a lot of great songs all packed into one show. I got really excited about that.”

Rush plays Carol in “Girls Night,” a character she describes as the love child of Peg Bundy from “Married With Children” and Rizzo from “Grease.”

(Now that coupling would make a great stage show!)

“She’s the life of the party,” Rush said of Carol. “She’s cool, but she’s a little tacky without knowing. She’s the leader of the pack. She’s strong. And yet beneath that cool and calm exterior, she’s deep and caring. She’s very good at hiding it, though.”

Like Carol, the cast of “Girls Night” aims to be the life of the party, working hard to get the audience into the music and the show.

“We love breaking the fourth wall,” Rush said. “We love audience participation and we encourage it. I think that more intimate settings work better. We can get really close to the audience and they can get involved.”

The title may be “Girls Night,” but Rush said that everyone is invited to this party, especially the gays.

“There’re so many wonderful songs, like ‘It’s Raining Men,’ ‘I Will Survive’ and ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.’ I hear that at the karaoke bar that I go to in the Gayborhood all the time. It really reminds me of when I go out to karaoke and I don’t necessarily go out to straight bars. I think a lot of people can relate to this. I think it’s relatable to all genders and most ages above teens.”

With Rush only above teens herself, we had to ask if there were any similarities between her and the farther-above-teens character of Carol.

“Not too much,” she said. “Emotionally, we’ve been through a lot and we’re stronger because of the things we have been through. I did not relate to her at first when I got this role, but I really feel this character now. I feel very attached to her.”

Also, with each character getting her own solo performances throughout the show, we had to ask if one character has a better batch of songs than the others.

“That’s very difficult [to answer] because we all have different songs and they’re all incredible,” she said. “But I wouldn’t want to be playing any other character.”

“Girls Night: The Musical” runs through May 23 at Kimmel’s Innovation Studio, 260 S. Broad St. For more information, call (215) 790-5847.

Larry Nichols can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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