Saturday, October 5, 2019

Lip Sync Battle

Opera del Sol and Central Florida Vocal Arts hosted a fun evening, of fun-raising, silent auction items, live musical performances by Opera del Sol Singers and of course Celebrity Lip Syncing at The Abbey, (100 S Eola Dr #100, Orlando, FL). The catch phrase for the evening was, that it was "for those of us who CAN'T sing- raising money for those who can." The goal was to have local celebrities compete for the loudest cheers and most outrageous performances.
A single Mic stood on stage along with a drum set. Theresa Smith-Levin stepped up to the mic and introduced the all female Opera leadership team which brought a roar from the audience. Theresa explained that many young performers feel they must leave Orlando to go to larger cities like LA or NYC to pursue their career in the arts. Her hope is that the Opera programs they are promoting might someday find venues and creative opportunities for talent to stay in Orlando.
My expectations were for a pretty tame evening of watching people lip sync. It should be a fun and straight forward sketch opportunity. Those expectations were quickly blown out of the water.  The first act featured news caster, Bob Frier and his support band wearing very fake wigs and lip Syncing to Nirvana. One song involved the submerged baby with a dollar bill dangling in front of it. Giovanna Ciccone danced out and thrashed the plastic baby about with it's creepy red eyes bulging as it reached for the bill. It was a hilarious moment. A smoke machine billowed a wispy cloud across the stage.
Next Ted Bogert of the Ted Show, took to the stage this time dressed in an opulent rainbow gown and an orange wig that was out of control. Things were happening so fast that I struggled to keep up with the action in my sketch. The crowd went wild when he ripped off the rainbow gown to showcase a tight fitting black dress with fringe that showed plenty of leg. Two sexy backup dancers, Giovanna Ciccone, and Olivia Figh raced on stage to dance behind him.
Next, a county themed Savannah Boan a Gator Land Ambassador, came out with a singing horse. You heard me right, a singing horse. I struggled to get the horse in my sketch, but it was cut in half before I finished getting its misshapen head on the page. Clothes flew off and costumes changed in a blink. The horse team turned out to be two Gator Land Bose including Brandon Fisher first in overalls and then in torn tops and flowing skirts. The audience was up and dancing and clapping to the wild action on stage as I scribbled.
Some sanity returned when Dan Altman and Olivia Figh from Opera del Sol, performed a moment from Phantom of the Opera. She has an amazing range and she brought home Opera del Sol's mantra to make Opera sexy again. Sabrina Ambra co-host at the News Junkfollowed this up with two amazing back up dancers that were puppets connected to her with a complicated series of poles. I wish she had kept those back up dancers for the duration but like every other act she made a quick costume change which was hilariously difficult to pull off since she got tangles in the web of poles and pant legs. She followed up with some over the top hip rap with two live back up dancers.
Next came a cross dressing bomb shell by Rauce Padgett who is from the Jim Colbert radio show. The crowd absolutely loved him. I sketched madly to try and capture the wild pig tails and skimpy skirt and top. He had a bold, nervous, stiff staccato way of dancing that caught everyone's attention. Jim Colbert followed up with a fiddle battle with the devil performed by Opera del Sol's Nichole Dupre. She seemed right at home in her bright red skin and horns whaling away on her fiddle.  Ultimately at the end of the night Rauce won for his stellar performance and he stripped of his top to raise the trophy to the sky. He shouted that he had stripped the prize from Jim Colbert.
This was a fun evening of fun-raising with a flair. As Theresa Smith-Levin said, "We got some strange friends." That is just what Orlando needs, a taste of strange to keep the arts thriving.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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