Review: ’12 Angry Women’ is a timely revue of songs of protest, passion and power

The timing couldn’t be better for “12 Angry Women,” a new music revue playing this weekend at Crooners in Fridley.

No one had to mention Roe v. Wade, Brittney Griner or any other issue that has so many women so mad — sorry, angry — that they can’t take it anymore. Without any introduction, a younger generation of women from the Twin Cities theater community took to a nightclub stage Thursday evening to assert their passion, protest and power in song.

The 90-minute revue, which opened a three-night stand, was conceived by Elissa Adams, Kelli Foster-Warder and Denise Prosek from Theatre Latte Da, where the musical “Twelve Angry Men” is now being staged.

“12 Angry Women” features songs associated with, among others, Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Janelle Monae, Adele, some Broadway musicals and even Elvis, of all people.

The empowering tunes carry messages from “don’t rain on my parade” and “you don’t own me” to “defying gravity,” the “Wicked” anthem that soars as an all-hands-on-deck finale.

Accompanied by pianist Mindy Eschedor, eight singers take turns in the spotlight. Those nine performers plus the three curators add up to 12 angry — and enriching and entertaining — women.

Rajane Katurah, best known for her standout performance in “Marie and Rosetta” at Park Square Theatre, is the showstopper, entrancing on “I’m Here” from “The Color Purple” and turning “Hound Dog” into a sassy slow blues that will make you forget Elvis’ rip roarin’ version.

Alexcia Thompson delivers the Langston Hughes poem “Song for a Dark Girl” as a hauntingly beautiful tune, and her stirring reading of “Feelin’ Good” would surely merit the Nina Simone seal of approval.

Aimee K. Bryant shows the bad and good sides of relationships, respectively, with Adele’s crushing “Hello” and Alicia Keys’ gospelly “Not Even the King.”

Elise Benson hits a big note on Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” while the beguilingly theatrical Vanessa Gamble plucks her ukulele for Yoko Ono’s “Sisters, o Sisters” with the other singers joining on the sisterhood-is-powerful chorus.

Kate Beahen, a regular cabaret performer at Crooners, is the perfect choice to lead audience sing-alongs of “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” — yes, the Elvis classic. Not only does she have the right personality to update Loretta Lynn’s “The Pill” but she would make an ideal emcee for “12 Angry Women,” adding background info and the thread to weave the songs into a show.

“12 Angry Women”

Who: Singers Kate Beahen, Elise Benson, China Brickey, Aimee K. Bryant, Vanessa Gamble, Anna Hashizume, Rajane Katurah and Alexcia Thompson with pianist Mindy Eschedor

When: 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.

Where: Crooners, 6161 Hwy 65 NE, Fridley

Tickets: $40 and up, croonersmn.com