Aretha and Angie command respect

Starring the ARIA chart topping artist, Angie Narayan, Respect journeys through Aretha Franklin’s courageous life of love, tragedy, and triumph, while showcasing her greatest hits over the past 50 years.

Starring in a show about the life and music of Aretha Franklin is a literal dream come true for Australia’s own “Soul Mama” Angie Narayan and even though she wasn’t the one who dreamt it – she still pinches herself every time she steps on stage.

RESPECT, coming to the J in Noosa for two shows on 27 April, journeys through Aretha Franklin’s courageous life of love, tragedy, and triumph, while showcasing her greatest hits over the past 50 years.

Five years ago, Gold Coast Producer, Monique Cribb of McGee Productions, felt compelled to recreate the story of this bold, phenomenal woman, who not only sold 75 million albums worldwide, but was a powerful figure for feminism and civil rights.

And she knew just the woman to star in it – former Australian Idol contestant Angie Narayan.

“We are going on to four five years now, the show toured the US last year, so it’s done fantastic,” Angie explained.

“The year before that we had a national tour and we’ve just come back from New Zealand which was amazing.”

Despite the longevity it’s all still a bit surreal for Angie who, with her family’s Fijian/Indian background, has a musical history rooted in gospel music – which has been a key influence and driving factor in her career. So getting a phone call from Monique really was a dream come true.

“Basically I got a phone call the year Aretha died, 2018,” Angie said.

“I grew up listening to the divas of the 60s and 70s. Patty Labelle, Donna Summer – that was my jam. I was living in Melbourne and Monique Cribb from McGee Entertainment rang and said look I had a dream, you were in it and basically it was a dream about a show about Aretha, your face was so clear. She said I’m just taking a punt here and giving you a call to say I’ve got a show idea based on the life of Aretha and I would love you to play the lead in it.

“And I was just like – done!

“Didn’t have to think about it. It was one of the decisions where they go you won a million dollars do you want it? Yes.

“We both had such a love for her and her career and her songs. As we delved into the songs bit a bit more we were just blown away.

“She is probably well-known for Respect – being the title of the show – but this girl could sing anything, she went from jazz to pop to blues to rock. She just had this incredible ability to reinvent the wheel.

“So that’s how the journey started, I was living in Melbourne, then I moved back to Brisbane in 2019 and the show launched then.”

“It’s been a team effort for sure and I guess our goal was that people don’t just walk away knowing her music but actually knowing Aretha and it really is a celebration of her triumphs.

“She did it in an era of extreme discrimination and racism. The Respect story really is – respect to the queen. Despite what she went through she triumphed, and she just went from glory to glory to glory and won incredible awards, Grammys, the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She paved the way for singers like myself, the Whitneys and Mariah Carey’s. It’s such an honour for me to sing her music and to help people understand Aretha and her journey.”

Monique Cribb said she really felt compelled to recreate the story of this bold, phenomenal woman, who not only sold 75 million albums worldwide, but was a powerful figure for feminism and civil rights.

“This is a story about family, loyalty and victory, layered with glorious harmonies and sassy repartee,” she said.

“I wanted to connect people to Aretha through an authentic mind, body and soul experience. The show takes you on an intimate musical odyssey through Aretha’s interesting life.

“Angie, who was accurately bestowed the ‘Soul Mama’ title by Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickinson on Australian Idol, has continued to blow audiences away internationally with her groundbreaking voice.

“Her voice is highly evocative of the socially conscious singer, whose chart-topping hits inspired generations. Aretha was Angie’s greatest musical influence who coincidentally, embodies so much of Aretha’s essence and heart. That is why I knew she was the perfect artist to play such a significant role.”

Joining Angie on stage are performers, Ezekiel Narayan, Shelley Davies and the incredible Faith Sosene, the top five finalist who blew Australia away in The Voice Season 11, together with an electric band as they take the audience through a two-act show about the life of Aretha.

Act One begins with a bang in the 1960s, taking the audience back in time where Aretha’s career all began. There’s an introduction to Aretha’s family, exploring her childhood, the church, meeting her Manager/ Husband, the Civil Rights Movement, her biggest musical crush and the profound impact the song RESPECT had on the world along with ‘Natural Woman’, Say A Little Prayer’ and ‘Son of a Preacher Man’.

Act Two starts off in the 70s, which was a rather turbulent decade with bombed albums, failed relationships and her father being shot. Moving into the 80s, ‘Sisters are Doin it for Themselves’, ‘Freeway of Love’, ‘Everyday People’ and beyond.

What: RESPECT

The Aretha Franklin Story

When: Saturday 27 April 2024

Where: J

Details: 2pm, 7.30pm

$75.00 Adults, $69.00 Concession (Pensioner, Senior)

Duration: two hours 30 mins including an interval

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