Respect: A Musical Journey of Women

Florida Atlantic University – University Press Online
October 7, 2004
By Mark Namit

The music was great, the singing superb, and the script solid. What a great evening of theater! Playwright and narrator Dorothy Marcic has adapted from her book “Respect: Women and Popular Music,” a musical journey that traces the struggles of women’s independence from the early part of the 20th century to their empowerment today in the workforce and society.

Pop music serves as the vehicle for moving her point across in the plot. The music is deliciously performed by two gorgeous singers, Paulette Dozier and Jeanette Fitzpatrick.

What makes this show different from “Suds” is that the music actually develops the plot effortlessly, and the pop music makes sense, bringing a rhythm to the sensibilities of an author’s need to explain women’s struggle to fit into the mainstream without persecution. Fitzpatrick and Dozier are the showstoppers of this production.

Fitzpatrick hilariously sings the cheesy Petula Clark novelty tune “It Must Be Him” with biting wit and sarcasm that only a true comedienne can capture, and continues to do this throughout the show.

Miss Dozier is an excellent interpreter of standards. Her rendition of Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child” is her focal point. Bringing forth a grittiness and honesty in the lyrics of such a powerful song about hard work and redemption, she makes it her own with her sultry and gorgeous phrasing… Zachariah Phillips’ minimalist set of white backgrounds and a staircase for the women, as well as an upstairs area for the orchestra, serves well in that it is not a spectacle that needs to hold the audiences’ attention. Rather, the performances of the actresses onstage are showcased. The staircase and white background brings to mind the Venetian spa set design that Scott Pask commissioned in the 2003 Tony Award winning revival of “Nine,” starring Antonio Banderas, which, like “Respect,” relied on the performances and not the glitz and glamour of sets.

Overall, “Respect” is a wonderful show that breathes new life into pop songs that have often been seen as maudlin, cheesy and sentimental by the masses. It also brings across the message that equal rights are for all. This is certainly a respectable and well put together show that should educate and entertain the young and the old.

This production was reviewed Aug. 28, 2004. This show will close its run on October 17, 2004.

Playing at the Cuillo Center for the Arts: 201 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach, Florida, 33401. Call 561/835-9226 for ticket information, or e-mail:

Starring: Dorothy Marcic, Paulette Dozier, Jeanette Fitzpatrick, and Emily Price. Stage Management: Ryan Mowatt. Musical Direction: Phil Hinton. Musical Arrangers: Phil and Jan Hinton; Scenic Design by Zachariah Phillips.Directed by Peter J. Loewy. Choreographed by Julie Kleiner.