San Francisco Fringe 2015
“Juggling a Stage Mom, Gender Confusion and Tap Lynne Jassem tells the story of her 10 year old self as she juggles her career on the Perry Como TV Show with the strict demands of her stage mother (and ex-Rockette), gender-confusion and a bumpy ride into the world of mortality and tap dancing.”
From Como to Homo is written and performed by Lynne Jassem, beginning with her first brush with showbiz and what happened in later years. Jassem is a consummate professional, in this show she acts, taps, sings a bit and is adept at physical comedy. She tells us about her start dancing on the Perry Como TV show, a successful variety show in the US in the 1950s, continuing through to the 1980s, which was broadcast internationally. Jassem’s short stint on Como’s show was in 1957, when she was ten years old and one of the six young girls who sang and danced on the show, called the Comoettes.
That Jassem was plucked at that young age to perform on such a popular show is evidence of her talent and she still has it – she’s a dynamo! Jassem has a larger than life stage presence and the flair of a seasoned performer in everything she does. However, this is not a demonstration of her skills, nor is it simply a narrative story, Jassem has very cleverly woven her skills into the story, creating an expressive style of her own. Her mime and tap dance skills are integrated into several visually descriptive activities as she speaks, to punctuate, give rhythm to her text and to emphasise points – even as she brings a chair onstage. She even imitates Perry Como and others in her life with brief quips of dialogue, by changing her voice and physicality, very effectively. Peppered with highly entertaining anecdotes of meeting famous actors, in one she recounts meeting Roy Rogers and Trigger – and all is not what it seems!
An important part of the story is that the show biz experiences after leaving the Comoettes led her to question herself as being a girl or maybe a boy, and why. Jassem has an attitude and clarity in her finessed storytelling, telling it how it is in a gutsy performance. Fascinating video clips and photos appear on a screen, adding to the atmosphere and tone of the show. Jassem’s vivid descriptions of her life are beautifully drawn but she also goes through some tough times. Her personal story is dramatic, funny and moving.