We can’t afford to be innocent/Stand up and face the enemy/It’s a do-or-die situation
We will be invincible!
—The Legend of Billie Jean (1985) from the album “Seven the Hard Way”
I love me some Pat Benatar! I believe that she is the birth child of rock queens Janis Joplin and Tina Turner. She’s unbelievably talented, has a knockout voice and like her music, she’s also sexy, fly and sweet. Her husband and partner in crime Neil Giraldo, is right next to her playing his fingers off and contributing to vocals. If rock and roll had representative symbol for the love of music and each other, it would be this couple of 40 years. The 4-time Grammy winning artist and recent inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, uses 28 songs in Benatar’s excellent catalogue to tell their version of William Shakespeare’s famous tragic couple, Romeo and Juliet.
Set in “warn torn city of Verona”, the Chancellor Paris, the ruler, does his damnest for the decrypted city to remain in ruins. The people aren’t happy with the dismal idea. In the middle of this saga are Romeo and Juliet (wonderfully played by Khamary Rose and Kay Sibal). The doomed couple try to maintain peace between their combative powerful families, that’s going to take a lot of therapy sessions.
The people express their despair with the opening of “Hell is for Children,” (Seven the Hard Way, 1985) and continue with the rest of Benatar’s award winning hits. Songs like, “Heartbreaker,” (In the Heat of the Night, 1979) “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” (Crimes of Passion, 1980), the show’s title comes from the 1985 movie, “The Legend of Billie Jean,” She even added to the age of the power ballad with “We Belong,” (Tropico, 1984). Though the main narrative is about the doomed couple, there’s a second storyline in place. Verona has become a dystopic place for the weak, the weary and I’m-too-frustrated-to-give-a-damn mentality. In the midst of this, the super couple still manage to be connected and that is always a beautiful thing. Benatar’s greatest hits can be seen as a tragic love story and it works.
Director Tiffany Nichole Greene does the brave thing and provides a surprise ending. Some may not like it, but it’s a brilliant idea and thank goodness she has the guts to provide a different outcome on the couple. The book by Bradley Bredeweg is brilliant. He’s blessed with a creative and strategic mind that brings forth a well-developed story orchestrated with passion and fully developed.
Invincible plays tonight and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday the 17th at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. and closes Sunday the 18th at 2 p.m. And 7 p.m. playing at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills, for tickets, log-on tickets@TheWallis.org, running time: 1 hour and 45 minutes with no intermission. Masks are mandatory.