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Your weekend: Rebel royals

Submitted by on 1, January 27, 2011 – 12:25 pm2 Comments

Her Rebel HighnessBy Liz Barrett

If you like Jane Austen — and Madonna — you’ll love “Her Rebel Highness,” a musical served with a three-course brunch Sunday at C’era Una Volta.

It’s the story of three 18th century princesses who refuse to be the virtuous, dutiful, romantic royals they were born to be. Each of the princesses is rebelling against one of those expectations.

Princess Genevieve, played by popular R&B vocalist Joni Maxx, is not as virtuous as she is supposed to be. Princess Antonina, played by mezzosoprano Valentina Osinski, is not dutiful enough. And Princess Victoria, played by Alameda resident Velia Amarasingham, is hardly a romantic.

Amarasingham said she created the show to illustrate that those same expectations of women still exist. She was inspired and empowered by both Austen and Madonna.

“I find it fascinating that although Miss Austen’s work was created about two hundred years before Madonna’s, similar themes regarding the place of women in the world are addressed,” Amarasingham said.

The elaborate costumes and 6-inch-high powdered wigs give the high-energy show a sort of “Beach Blanket Babylon” meets “Material Girl” feel, with some strong feminist themes thrown in for good measure.

“My goal was quite simply to develop a show that I would love to see: something completely new, high-energy, visually stunning, uplifting, and anchored by outstanding talent and thoughtful writing,” Amarasingham said. She wanted to empower women to step away from the stereotypes and be themselves.

The ensemble, which also features dancer/choreographers Danica Sena and Norberto Martinez, has performed the show under the direction of Climate Theater artistic director Jessica Heidt at least a dozen times since its debut in 2009.  Audiences love it. Critics do too. 21st Century Music editor Mark Alberger called it an “ear- and eye-popping display of vocal prowess and visual splendor.”

Seating for the Sunday brunch performance at C’era Una Volta starts at 11:30 a.m. for the noon show. Cost for the show and a three-course brunch is $45 for main floor seating or $35 for gallery seating (upstairs banister). To see the performance without the brunch (and for children under 10), the cost is $15. For more information about the show, visit herrebelhighness.com.

C’era Una Volta is located at 1332 Park Street.


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