Concert Takes Up A Cause

Posted: November 05, 1990

It was an evening of unity of purpose and diversity of sound last night at the Academy of Music. Before a sold-out crowd, which included many political luminaries, Women's Way celebrated "Women in Concert," a benefit for social agencies serving women and children.

Hosted by Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis, the show featured the eclectic urban folk music of the Roches, the contemporary country sound of the mother-daughter duo the Judds, and the soulful supper-club jazz of Dionne Warwick.

In addition to raising funds, the concert was intended to raise public awareness of Women's Way and to celebrate the inauguration of the new Women's Way USA, a national version of the Philadelphia-based organization.

Dukakis introduced the show as a celebration of women as entertainers and as achievers. "You may remember a movie from several years ago called The Philadelphia Story. With tonight's concert, we will generate a new Philadelphia Story. Tonight, with determination, we will bring help and hope to the women and children of the Philadelphia area."

Dukakis' short introduction was followed by a multi-media slide show that celebrated women's accomplishments. Images of Helen Keller, Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King drew loud applause from the capacity audience of 3,000, who paid from $50 to $750 for a seat.

The Roches came next with a 40-minute set of beguilingly quirky urban folk music. The three sisters, Maggie, Terre and Suzzy, created bliss-inducing harmonies that walked the tightrope between girlish charm and unaffected sophistication.

Terre's searing and soaring soprano moved like quicksilver through a version of "I Love My Mom," a song that they dedicated to the Judds. A hilarious version of Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons' "Dawn" - here reinterpreted as "Don" - had the audience laughing and singing along.

The Judds kicked off a 40-minute set of a rollicking version of "Born to Be Blue." Backed by a crack six-piece band, Wynonna looked like a young Elvis in white fringe while Mom Naomi sashayed like a glittery Cinderella at the ball singing harmonies with her daughter.

Dionne Warwick, resplendent in a red silk pants suit, re-created the sounds of her biggest hits of the '60s. Warwick's dusky and amber-hued alto was complemented by a 25-piece orchestra. Beginning her set with her bittersweet signature song, "Walk on By," she segued into a medley of the Bacharach- David standards that made her a star and several Cole Porter classics.

A surprise finale featured all of the evening's performers, including Dukakis, singing Warwick's hit "That's What Friends Are For."

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