Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

Songs for Nobodies
People's Light
Review by Rebecca Rendell

Also see Rebecca's recent reviews of Jesus Christ Superstar, Plum Bun and Red Riding Hood

Bethany Thomas
Photo by Mark Garvin
Singer-songwriter Bethany Thomas absolutely smashes her debut at the People's Light with a performance so incredible it has to be seen to be believed. Thomas stars in the one-woman musical Songs for Nobodies, speaking and singing in the guise of Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday, and Maria Callas. Thomas takes on the sound, mannerisms, and emotion of each of the artists with incredible facility. I was particularly floored at how effectively Thomas captures the spirit of Piaf and Holiday, but every song she performs is a showstopper.

So much more than just a series of impersonations, Songs for Nobodies features a beautiful flow of thematically related vignettes. Each short story offers a glimpse into the life stories of one of five ordinary women–a bathroom attendant, a spotlight operator, a librarian, a reporter, and a nanny–who each have an encounter with one of five legendary singers. The play is set in various locations, such as a hotel room, a dressing room, and a bar where each woman shares her personal experiences and encounters with the famous singer. The play touches on themes of fame, identity, and the transformative power of music. Throughout the play, Thomas performs songs associated with each of the singers, showcasing her expansive range and spectacular vocal abilities.

Director Rob Lindley directs this magnificent production. Music director Daniel Espie and orchestrator Andra Velis Simon invoke the original artist for each iconic number while allowing Thomas herself to shine. Lindsay Jones' excellent sound design ensures that the entire audience experiences each song as intimately as the "nobodies" depicted on stage. Featuring a series of small, connected circular stages and some very well placed lights, Jeffrey D. Kmiec's scenic design is the perfect canvas for Lindley and Thomas to create their musical magic.

Songs for Nobodies is an engaging theatrical experience that celebrates the enduring legacy of some of the greatest female singers of the 20th century, while also shining a light on the lives of ordinary women whose stories often go untold. Thanks to the talented Bethany Thomas, this production is a uniquely fantastic entertainment.

Songs for Nobodies runs through May 21, 2023, at People's Light, Leonard C. Haas Stage, 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern PA. For tickets and information, please visit or call the box office at 610-644-3500.

Performer: Bethany Thomas

Director: Rob Lindley
Orchestrator: Andra Velis Simon
Scenic Designer: Jeffrey D. Kmiec
Costume Designer: Mieka van der Ploeg
Sound Designer: Lindsay Jones
Music Director: Daniel Espie
Lighting Designer: Jesse Klug
Associate Sound Designer: Nina Field
Assistant Lighting Designer: Rowan Poole
Stage Manager: Deborah Teller