Ms. Tucker Will See You Now Review – Sophie’s Life and Times

Laural Meade as Sophie Tucker in MS. TUCKER WILL SEE YOU NOW - Photo by Craig Allyn Cockrane
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Written and performed by Laural Meade, MS. TUCKER WILL SEE YOU NOW is a bawdy cabaret/theater piece inspired by the rollicking music of jazz great Sophie Tucker. Songs, jokes, stories – and all risqué! This well-constructed show reflects the extraordinary life and career of one of the twentieth century’s greatest entertainers – known as “the last of the Red Hot Mamas” for excellent reasons which do not reflect on the color of Sophie’s hair. Female performers who followed Sophie into the spotlight, like Bette Midler, Joan Rivers, and Phyllis Diller, were inspired by Tucker’s raucous, unconventional, risqué, and hugely popular shows.

Laural Meade as “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas” – Photo by Elaine L. Mura

Laural Meade also has a fascinating lifestyle – by day, she is a college professor. By night, she morphs into a Red Hot Mama who can belt out a song with the best of them. In 2022, she did a series of house concerts throughout Los Angeles. In 2023, she came to the Gardenia Supper Club to try out their weekly open mic – and ended up coming back every so often to perform for a standing-room only crowd. In June 2023, she began a monthly performance residency which continued through the end of the year.

Laural Meade – Photo by Craig Allyn Cochrane

The show features 13 of Sophie Tucker’s signature songs, including “Some of These Days,” “Yiddishe Mama,”, and “The Man I Love.” About the last song, Travis Michael Holder of www.ticketholdersLA.com opined that Ms. Meade “delivers an arrestingly poignant and indelibly memorable version of Gershwin’s “The Man I Love” that alone could make the professional cabaret rise of a brave and intensely gifted late-blooming college professor something as worth appreciating as the career of Ms. Tucker herself.” Elliot Zwiebach at Cabaret Scenes Magazine noted that “Meade lets loose her inner Sophie and charms.”

Laural Meade and Gregory Nabours – Photo by Craig Allyn Cochrane

To the accompaniment of pianist Gregory Nabours, who lives and works in Los Angeles as a composer/lyricist and music director, Ms. Meade does a rollicking Ms. Tucker from her earliest days to the pinnacle of her career as the top-paid vaudeville entertainer of her era. Three marriages to losers later, she still drew crowds who laughed, sang, and clapped for her. This reviewer was lucky enough to celebrate Ms. Meade’s fifty-seventh birthday with her at the club, where all her friends and loyal followers enjoyed a piece of birthday cake.

Laural Meade – Photo by Elaine L. Mura

One thing for sure. You won’t be bored at Ms. Meade’s take on Sophie Tucker. Sophie was a unique and often hilarious performer who could poke fun at herself and everybody else, and Meade has nailed her. Meade has a powerful set of lungs and knows how to use them to channel Sophie Tucker into 2024. This is a don’t-miss performance – so keep an eye out for her next appearance at the Gardenia.

Laural Meade’s MS. TUCKER WILL SEE YOU NOW returns to the historic Gardenia Supper Club at 9 p.m. on March 2, April 6, May 4, and June 1, 2024. Doors open and dinner service begins at 7 p.m. The Gardenia Supper Club is located at 7066 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA. Tickets include a cover charge and $14 drink minimum. For information and reservations, call 213-467-7444; reservations are by phone only.

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