Photos by Parker Sargent
If you’ve ever been to a Hedda Lettuce
show, you know her style…she’s brassy, thoughtful, cutting edge and if you find
yourself in her satirical gaze, she can seem a little cutthroat. But the
fabulous thing about Hedda is that it all comes from a place of campy and vampy
fun. She saucily reaches into the audience to pluck out patrons to poke fun at
and still is able to make them laugh, because with this crowd the jokes come
from a place of fellowship and history.
The seats were filled with locals
and lovers of Hedda at this charity event for the Arts Project of Cherry Grove,
which at times made the show seem like a candid discussion with an old friend. She
knows this audience and she knows the Grove...the faces, the places…and she may
even know where a few of the bodies are buried.
Gleefully playing, Hedda finds
familiar faces and interacts with the crowd, knowing full well that they may
bite back. At one point she quips, “And there’s Lavinia Draper, Cherry Grove’s
oldest hooker” and Lavinia sparks back, “When does the movie start”. After thoroughly
embarrassing most of the first three rows, the lineup continues with naughty
numbers that could make May West blush, yet Hedda delivers them with power and
But it’s not just sexual puns and
punch lines; the sassy blue humor is interwoven with genuine moments of
high-class entertainment. What would Lucille Ball have been like if she came to
visit The Cherry Grove Community house? Could Joan Crawford work the crowd and
spoof the audience members so skillfully? You find yourself feeling as the though
you’re watching one of these classic screen sirens letting her hair down and
unleashing the “not safe for television” version of themselves.
While Hedda can have you rolling
with well crafted music parodies and scathing audience banter, she has everyone
silent and emotional when the lights are turned down and she’s sharing a
touching song she wrote about the trials of being a child with ideas of gender
bending, but feeling so alone and segregated from a world that is dictating
rigid rules of normality and sexuality.
"All day long I just sit and
stare at the boy in the mirror with the brown hair
And I’d look into to his eyes and
what do I see, a little boy who wants to be free
All day long I’d just sit and
stare at the queen in the mirror with the green hair
And I look into her eyes, what do
I see? A little boy, looking back at me.”
Hedda poignantly ponders the life
of an outcast, bringing the show to a quiet roar as the audience hangs on her
sad, yet seductive voice.
Just as easily as she can set the
scene to somber, this green Goddess can instantly fill the room with such
lightness you feel like you’re floating.
Along with her musical director
Steven Anthony, Hedda saunters her way through songs, comedy routines and
audience improvs, while he plays her straight man one moment and the next he
becomes the master of the melodies that drives her locomotive of laughter.
In “Jesus Take The Wheel”, Hedda
slams her hand down on the piano in a dramatic panic when her drunk driving
co-pilot isn’t as dependable as she thought.
"Jesus watch out for that
dee,r it’s right in front of you
You just hit a van of nun’s,
bodies black and blue
Holy sh*t sweet Jesus, you just
missed the ice-cream man
Oh my god sweet Jesus, we’re
ramming into a parked sedan"
From the moment the show started
until the very end, she captivates the crowd that all came out to support the
Arts Project and to celebrate the Queen of Green.
Hedda says it best in her opening
number, “she’s gorgeous, she’s glamorous…she’s fascinating, she’s
titillating…she’s easy, she’s sleazy…NOW YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR!”