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"Billings,one of the most passionate performers you'll encounter in this or any year,is a talent that should not be missed next time she hits the "Big Apple." I guarantee you, she'll blow you away!. I can't wait for her return."
Marle Becker, OUT-FM/NY WBAI Radio

"Billings has one of the best belt voices since Ethel Merman"
Backstage Magazine..New York (1999)

"Billings is a forthright and funny entertainer."
Village Voice..New York (2003)

"Being Alive" is the CD debut of the Year!"
Marle Becker..WBAI-FM Radio..New York (2000)

"You'll be sitting on your barstool, dazzled, yearning for one more blast"
Achy Obejas..Chicago Tribune..June 2000.

 "Alexandra Billings is a great actress who can sing up a storm."
Larry Kramer..Oscar nominated screenwriter/playwright..April 2000.

"Being Alive" is a **** Dazzler."
Jeff Rossen..Gay Chicago Magazine June 2000.

 "Fifty Percent" is terrific'
Billy Goldenberg...composer .

"The lady is beautiful and her vocals are extraordinary!"
Stu Hamstra...Cabaret Hotline.

"Her powerful voice and wide vibrato drive thru Carly Simon's "Let the River Run" and then she turns around and quietly dances with Eric Schneider on the following track "Goin' out of my Head," two songs from the pop music songbook that showcase Billings' abilities outside of the showtune tradition."

"this one is exceptionally good and the production values are excellent in all aspects.
Flawless performances are everywhere, and it is a pleasure to listen to the CD again and again!"
Lee Prosser..Jazz at a Glance. July 2000.

"the CD ends with a rousing interpretation of Dennis DeYoung's "Come Sail Away."
Lewis Lesare..Chicago Reader..July 2000.

"Alexandra Billings is wonderful in the role of Nora's faithful friend Mrs. Linde."

"Alexandra Billings has a strong, passionate voice with just the right blend of vulnerability and vitality. The songs on her CD "Being Alive" reflect both qualities, and sometimes on the same track. in an eclectic variety of popular tunes, she takes on the bright and bouncy "Rhythm/Got Rhythm Medley" and "Some People" right along side with the poignant title song and "Come Sail Away." No matter the genre, Billings gets her message across. Her "Haunting Medley (It's Too Late/Holding Back the Years)" is just that-haunting and beautiful while "Fifty Percent" is full of determination and spirit."
"Being Alive" is an honest and powerful music venture.
Laurie April 2003.

"Billings has the volume and clarity of an opera singer, with a smashing, big musical delivery."
Gwen Warner...Website review.

Her voice can be sassy and bouncy as on the album's kickoff medley of "Rhythm" and "I Got Rhythm." She is genuinely sincere on "Let the River Run" and imaginative on the unusually gentle rendition of "Goin" Out of My Head."
"Her vocal performances and true confessions liner notes give new meaning to the phrase "letting it all hang out."

"Alexandra Billings is the most electric talent to come out of our community."
Lawrence Boomer, Windy City Times.

"Belting out the likes of "Fifty Percent," Barry Manilow's "City Rhythm" and David Freidman's "My Simple Christmas Wish," Billings proved a strong singer with a penchant for dicey quips."
John Hoglund..Backstage Magazine. New York. 1998

Alexandra Billings is named one of Chicago Tribune's "Chicagoans of The Year"
December, 2001.

"Even more remarkable is Billings, whose Fagin suggests a cross between Katharine Hepburn and Captain Hook, with a little Kaye Ballard thrown in. She can purr and coo like Kate and roar and bellow like John Belushi. She sings with dizzying abandon and possesses a seemingly prehensile tongue. It's the most hilariously outrageous performance in years."
Neal Weaver, BACKSTAGE.COM - December 26, 2007
"Of course it helps enormously that Alexandra Billings -- the canniest of all mistresses of camp -- is on hand to command the stage at every turn as Queen Evermean, the royal mum. Billings is the revved-up motor here, and she even hums at high. Not a raised eyebrow or a nasty aside is ever off target, and the kids not only adore her, but somehow they 'get' her."
[ more from Hedy Weiss of The Chicago Tribune ]

From the Chicago Tribune
'Bloom' a study in the trials of staging Joyce
By Michael Phillips (Tribune theater critic)

"...let’s not forget the mighty Alexandra Billings in a cameo turn as the omnipotent madam Bella Cohen."
Read the Review from Windy City Times!
"Alexandra Billings, as the dominatrix, Bella Cohen, played the whore to the hilt..."

-- Tom Williams at
Review of 'A Dublin Bloom' at the Irish Repertory
By Dan Zeff (Copley News Service)

CHICAGO - June 16 is the holiest day on the Irish literary calendar. That's the day (and night) that Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus journey their way through Dublin in James Joyce's epic novel "Ulysses."

"Ulysses" has spawned an academic industry that probably ranks second only to Shakespeare. Joyce set the action in the year 1904, which means that this is the 100th anniversary of the narrative (the novel was published in 1922). Joyceans throughout the cultural world are celebrating the anniversary, a ripe time for the world premiere of "A Dublin Bloom" by the Irish Repertory.

Joyce modeled the events in "Ulysses" on the 19-year wanderings of the Greek hero Odysseus after the end of the Trojan War as recorded by Homer in "The Odyssey." But familiarity with "The Odyssey" is just the beginning of comprehending the Joyce novel. Scholars have noted that to get a decent grasp on "Ulysses," the reader should be steeped not only in Greek mythology but in Roman Catholic theology, Irish legend, European history, and languages like Hebrew, Latin and Gaelic.Stream-of-consciousness style and you have a book that created enormous controversy for its alleged obscurity. And then there were the charges of obscenity that led to the banning of the novel for a time.

Clearly, adapting "Ulysses" for the stage is a daunting task, though it's been attempted in the past decades, notably an off-Broadway drama called "Ulysses in Nighttown" in 1958. Dublin playwright Dermot Bolger has successfully carved out a portion of the novel into "A Dublin Bloom," aided immeasurably by a splendid production by the Irish Repertory.

The production employs 19 actors to play dozens of roles as we trace the troubled wanderings of Bloom and Dedalus through Dublin that typical June day. The adaptation follows the scheme of "The Odyssey." Each scene with its modern and ancient Greek parallels is listed in the playbill. But unless the audience is fully versed in Homer, the scenic breakdown will mean little.

Although "Ulysses" has a reputation of being a difficult book, the
writing is often extremely realistic and detailed. From scene to scene the play is easy to understand. It's connecting the individual components that may cause problems for the audience. But the play has a cumulative force, and by the end of the evening attentive spectators should leave the theater satisfied that they have enjoyed a full and accessible dramatic experience.

The staging, under Matt O'Brien's creative and sympathetic directing, flows from scene to scene much like the book. The basic storyline follows Leopold Bloom, a mild mannered Jewish advertising salesman, as he moves through Dublin's streets and pubs. The younger Dedalus is a dissatisfied writer, lumbered with an unhappy teaching job and a burden of a father. It's a portrait of a searching and uncompromising artist trying to find his way.

Bloom is the eternal outsider, isolated from the Irish mainstream in Dublin by anti-Semitism. He's a diffident man with slightly kinky
sexual tastes, unable to satisfy his lusty and unfaithful wife Molly.

Molly Bloom's long monologue is a central part of the novel, and its sexual explicitness got Joyce in trouble with the censors. The play divides the monologue into segments, but the play ends with Molly, reclining on her bed as she's been throughout the play, lyrically delivering her musings about her courtship and marriage to Bloom.

The play is filled with comic moments and colorful Irish characters
like Blazes Boylan and Buck Mulligan and Bella Cohen, the brazen madame of a local brothel. The language is rich in poetry and Irish blarney and many of the scenes are tumultuous in their action. This may not be the definitive adaptation of "Ulysses." The novel is too expansive and complex to be nailed down to any single stage version. But it gives audiences, scholarly and novices alike, a fine sampling of Joyce's masterpiece in a legitimately dramatic form.

The ensemble does a superior job of inhabiting the Joycean menagerie of characters, though occasionally the Irish accents muddle the dialogue. Will Clinger is outstanding as the self effacing Leopold Bloom, in his dress suit and bowler hat and mustache, looking a little like Charlie Chaplin. Andrew Carter is likewise excellent as the discontented Stephen Dedalus. The difficult role of Molly Bloom falls to Laura Scott Wade, who renders the final monologue beautifully, though Wade is a bit
young for the role (Molly and Leopold have a 15 year-old daughter and Wade looks to be in her mid 20s).

The complementary actors are all first rate, with pride of place
perhaps going to Gary Houston and Scotty Rowe for their especially fluid handling of the language. Alexandra Billings makes a feisty impression in her cameo as the pungent Bella Cohen.

Michelle Tesdall earns high marks for her costume designs that vividly re-create the look of Dublin's lower and middle classes 100 years ago. The remainder of the design corps consists of Jaymi Lee Smith (lighting), John Selden (sound), and Matthew J. York (sets).

The show gets a rating of 3 1/2 stars.

Irish Repertory
| 773/248-7700 |

LA Weekly: "Billings nearly walks off with the scenery by underplaying the boozing matron." [ more ]