October 29, 2020

1997-04-27 – Pittsburgh Post Gazette

1997 04 27 Pittsburgh_Post_Gazette_Sun__Apr_27__1997_

By Ed Masley

Post-Gazetle Stall WIIIO!

he’s the Gyosy. The Acid
Queen. She ll tear your soul


Well, actually, these days
the Gypsy doesn’t use the Acid
Queen moniker. Gypsy is so much
more family-oriented.

The song is “The Acid Queen,”
sure, but when “Tommy” went
Broadway, the drug dealer’s name
was changed to protect the inno-

See what a little culture can do
for the counter-culture?

As Shari Richards, the local mu-
sician who’s sin 'ng “The Acid
Queen” in Ken argaro’s produc-
tion of “Tommy,” explains, “The
name was a little more Palatable
for the masses, I guess. ’

Pete Townshend himself
changed the Acid Queen’s name for
the Broadway production. And Gar-
garo has taken additional steps to
see that the kids are alright.

“They‘ve toned down some of the
scenes that were a little on the vio-
lent side or maybe had some sexual
overtones,” says Richards. “Gar-
garo takes a very strong stand in
making their shows accessible to
kids. I’m really glad to be involved
in a company like that, because I
really feel strongly about bringing
musnc to kids.”

Though she’s spent a good part
of her 31 years on one stage or an-
other, this is the first time the local
musician has tried her hand at the-

“Some of the people from Gar-
garo Productions come out to see
us regularly at Nick’s Fat City, and
they said, ‘Do you mind if we rec-
ommend that they check you out
for a part?’ ” she explains. “I said,
‘Sure.’ So they came down, and
they were excited.”

Rehearsals are going well.

“Basically, what I’m doing is per-
forming it as I perform,” she says.
“They’re not asking me to sing m a
way that’s not me.”

So is there some acting

“I have to do some acting as far
. as the way I move around and stuff
when I’m singing, but there are no
speaking lines,” she says. “It’s a
Singing role.

“But in case there’s any confu-
sion,” she adds with a laugh, “the
moves aren’t mine because, you

Singing ‘Acz'a’ Queen’
in ‘memy’brz'ngs out
the Gypsy in musician

Amanda Crocker, '9“. plays Tommy at age 10, and Shari Richards is the G s in “To " h'
Wednesday at the Byham Theater. yp Y mmy, W ICh opens

know, it is the Acid Queen.”

Well no, it’s the Gypsy, but you
get the picture.

And speaking of pictures, she
has seen the movie before and en-
joyed the performance of Tina “The
Acid Queen” Turner.”

“But then, I researched the role,
and Patti Labelle has done the Acid
Queen, too,” she says. “And I love
Patti Labelle as much as I love
Tina, so to hear her rendition just
floored me. And I would like to
draw on Patti Labelle. A little. If
they don’t mind.”

OK, so she loves Tina Turner.
She‘s floored by Labelle. Is she into
the Who?

There's a moment of silence. a
grin and a quietly s oken no.

“I probably shou dn’t admit to
that,” she says. “As a guitar player,
I really like Pete Townshend’s play-
in , but I don’t really listen to the
W 0 much around the house. Or in
the car.”

She bites her lip.

“Or anywhere else.”

She’s enjoying the theater,



Where: Byham Theater.
' Downtown.

When: 7:30 pm. Wednesday
through Friday; 2 and 7:30 pm.
Saturday; 2 pm. next Sunday; and
7:30 pm. May 6.

Tlckets: $10 to $26; 456-6666.


“It’s like a family,” she says. “All
the actors, everyone behind the
scenes, the technical eople, the
li ting director . . . I ike that.

T at‘s a new experience for me."
It’s been a busy year for Rich-
:ards. She’s hoping to have her first
solo release in stores b the end of

May. She’s singing the lues as part

of a super group, Pittsburgh’s
Women of the Blues. She’s still got
the Tuesday gig every week on the
South Side at N ick’s Fat City. And
now, the theater.

“I don’t know if this will just be a

one-shot deal, but if it would lead to
other offers, I would be thrilled,”
she says. “I really enjoy the atmos-

It’s not all that different from
playing a cover, she says.

“I do cover tunes, and I try to
make them my own,” she says, “be-
cause I’m mainl a performer. I do
write, but I just ove rforming. I
love just conveyin t at emotion
and trying to get t at across. I was
intimidated at first, but the lmew
that I’m a musician, not a eater
major or anything, so I figure if
they had faith, OK, I trust them.”

Asked if she’s thought about tak-
ing some acting lessons, she hesi-

“Maybe it’s crossed my mind,”
she says. “But this is a good chance
for me to get my feet wet and see. I
know right now I really like it a lot,
but more important is will the audi-
ence like what I’m doing. I think it
would be wise for me to see what
they think before I take any steps.
It’s not really for me to say if I’m
meant to do it or not.”