Maybin Hewes and Kay Freeman are well-traveled song-and-dance women who, individually, have “trod the boards” around the world but never had formally met until a few years ago. While performing at an Equity waiver theater, they compared notes and discovered they had both been in the same Miami Beach Latin Quarter show back in the ’50s. Their reminiscences about their lives and careers are the basis for this nostalgia-filled if not musically inventive revue, ably supported by musical director David Rada (piano) and Jack LeConte (drums).
Launching into an enthusiastic rendering of the bubbly “With a Wink and a Smile,” both Hewes and Freeman possess what could generously be described as dancers-who-sing voices. Working their way through a one-hour set that includes easy-going versions of “Sweet Georgia Brown,” Harry Nilsson’s “You Got a Friend in Me,” and Irving Berlin’s “I Love a Piano,” the two hoofers are contained by the limited Cinegrill stage space, which severely limits any terpsichorean ambitions.
It is the between-number chatter that provides the true highlights. The pair are at their best when relating the highs and lows of two entertaining journeys through the hinterlands of show business.
Burbank-raised Freeman has enjoyed a wildly diverse career. Born of Russian-Hungarian Jewish parents, Freeman explains how her hair color and her ethnicity would evolve depending on the employment opportunity. This included a raven-haired stint during the early ’50s as a flamenco dancer with the famed Jose Greco dance troupe, a redheaded turn as an Irish colleen, a quick dye job and an Italian accent for the film “The Godfather” and a hilariously over-the-top be-wigged outing as Cuban television talkshow host Conchita in the musical comedy “Barry Manilow Presents: Copacabana.”
New Orleans-born Hewes is certainly the more mobile of the two, offering an economical but adroit song-and-dance turn on her hometown anthem, “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans.” Hewes also proves to be the more animated as she recounts her gypsy years, highlighted by comical interludes from such musicals as “Pal Joey,” “Oklahoma,” “South Pacific” and “Panama Hattie.”
“Still Struttin'” doesn’t pretend to be anything more ambitious than a feel-good outing by two seasoned pros who simply enjoy performing for the folks. The only jarring sequence in their show is an unfunny bit of shtick, “The Sylvia Feldman Award,” an awkward, overly long tribute to an overage cigarette girl.