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Bring on The Men
By Valerie Jean-Charles

What songs would make up the soundtrack to your love life? This is the question that Tony Award Winner, Tonya Pinkins, and music director, Brad Simmons will have you asking yourself after you’ve witnessed their new, exhilarating concert series at Joe’s Pub, “Bring on the Men.” Pinkins and Simmons have joined forces to provide us with an experience that is just as complex, hopeful, and endearing as the theme at the heart of their show– love.

Pinkins and Simmons are bold, unapologetic characters, and these very traits lie at the forefront of this presentation. The show kicks off with its title song, and quickly delves viewers into the hilarious minds of this dynamic duo. From them we learn what a “manhunt” is, that love can be found anywhere –even on sites like Grindr, that friends should quit offering unsolicited advice and most importantly, it is okay to cry when love has gone wrong. The last point proved to be one of the most moving moments out of the entire program with Simmons comforting a weeping Pinkins with, “Cry if you want to. I won’t tell you not to. I’ll just be near if you need me.”

Tonya Pinkins and Brad Simmons share a natural chemistry that most singers and music directors can only dream of. As they tell their respective stories through selections such as “I Honestly Love You,” “Why,” “Free Fallin’,” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” it is easy to see that these two enjoy every minute of being in each other’s presence. Their respective wit and charisma naturally complement one another, giving audience members a feeling that they are eavesdropping on a personal conversation between two best friends.

Soundtracking one’s love life may not be the easiest task in the world, but Pinkins and Simmons makes it look fun and necessary exercise. Their stories are comical, hopeful and heartbreaking allowing audience members to connect and participate in the show. Pinkins described “Bring On The Men” as a “party” and there definitely is no better way to define it. It is a party celebrating life, music, personal growth and the power of love.


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