Dolly Parton is 26 years young. Rather, her breasts are. The rest of her turns 64 today. In honor of this milestone, BGO Productions hosted "The Dolly Parton Birthday Extravaganza" at the Bryant Lake Bowl Monday night.
Short on blonde wigs and stuffed bras (sadly), the performance, featuring a number of local actresses, was not short on enthusiasm as a rotating cast of women sang their way through a little over an hour's worth of Dolly's hits. Highlights included energetic renditions of "Baby I'm Burning," "Joshua," "Why'd You Come In Here Lookin' Like That," "Two Doors Down" and "Islands in the Stream," as well as genuinely pretty covers of "Bargain Store" and "We Used To."
While the show overall was a little musical theatre-y and at times even high school talent show-y for my taste, over-the-top performances by Emily Rose Skinner and Justine Carroll (both real hams) were what ultimately sold it. Should the show be repeated to celebrate Dolly's rack turning 27, I'd suggest these performers channel Skinner and Carroll's energy, wear more outrageous costumes, encourage singalongs (as the crowd was just bursting to join in once instructed to do so for "Islands in the Stream"), and please, please, please, include some male Dolly impersonators in drag. A Dolly tribute begs for this.
And speaking of men in makeup, the show's emcee told us about a little-known Boy George and Dolly Parton collaboration, "Your Kisses Are Charity." Enjoy.