The Riverside is fortunate in its female leads, casting an incandescent Jamila Sabares-Klemm as Maureen Johnson.
Jamila Sabares-Klemm, as the newly Sapphic performance artist Maureen, is a charmer through and through.
Jonathan Elliott, Reviewer
Jamila Sabares-Klemm is an exceptional Lady of the Lake and she blows the vocals out of the water during her Vegas sequence.
Both Lumbard and Brotebeck expressed great admiration for the singing of Jamila Sabares-Klemm, whose show-stopping number, "The Diva's Lament," directs her character's outrage at the show's writers over a lack of stage time.
Having seen “Rent” on Broadway with several casts during its 12 years, I can honestly say this ensemble is by far the very best…with stellar vocal performances from Jamila Sabares-Klemm
The Riverside is fortunate in its female leads, casting an incandescent Jamila Sabares-Klemm as Maureen Johnson
Tracie Franklin as Joanne, and Jamila Sabares-Klemm as Maureen are on-again- off-again lovers. Their strongest musical moments come during their duets.
Jamila Sabares-Klemm, as the newly Sapphic performance artist Maureen, is a charmer through and through, a flirt who cares little about the consequences of her actions until the costs become apparent. Sabares-Klemm also illustrates an interesting point of this production: in the role that made a star out of Idina Menzel (prior to “Wicked” and “Glee”), she opts to go in a completely different direction, impish and coy where Menzel was erotic and edgy. While both held the right amount of humor and humanity in their roles, finding a new interpretation that works brings a new life to this Maureen.
Another delight was Jamila Sabares-Klemm as Maureen. A difficult role to play due to a mostly unlikeable set of actions and far too few musical numbers, Sabares-Klemm truly made the most of every moment on stage. Whether it was performing the funniest "Over the Moon" I have seen, stealing the scene during "La Vie Boheme" or transforming into a vocal hurricane in her battle with Joanne in "Take Me Or Leave Me," the lady was an absolute superstar.
Then there are others — when the 15-person cast sings as an ensemble — when Zayas’ production makes the Bristol house feel twice as big. Standouts, such as Jamila Sabares-Klemm as performance artist Maureen, fiery and funny in “Over the Moon,” and Tracie Franklin’s Joanne, who sings a strong, sexy power duet with Maureen, “Take Me or Leave Me,” offer a taste of why Rent, when it’s not too reverent, still feels fresh.
Wisely, Biever cast two strong singers, Dan Gleason as George and Jamila Sabares-Klemm as Dot/Marie. He and musical director Dan Riddle were fortunate to find young, undergraduate actors capable of handling the significant vocal demands of Sondheim's score. Both delivered musical and nuanced vocal performances…Sabares-Klemm demonstrated a full, open belt counterbalanced with a lovely, light mezzo-soprano. She approached the role with a keen understanding of the psychological layers and deep subtext that Lapine and Sondheim provide.
Special mention has to be made about Jamila Sabares-Klemm who played Hope Cladwell. She has amazing charm, beauty, and a wonderful voice and could head right to Broadway in the role of "The Lady of the Lake" in "Spamalot.”