Q&A with Gone Girls' Christa Fredrickson
Aug 13th, 2015 By: Mark Kitanga
Topics: Las Cruces Living, News

Returning for a special encore performance this weekend at Boba Cabaret is 'Gone Girls', the hit show featuring four-part harmonies of girl groups from the '40s, '50s, '60s, and beyond. Now, back by popular demand, the 'Gone Girls' will be performing shows this Friday and Saturday night, with two shows each night. The dinner show starts 7 pm, with seating at 6 pm to accommodate dinner. The cocktail show starts at 8:30 pm, with seating at 8:15 pm. For tickets and pricing details, contact Boba Cabaret at 575-647-5900.

Audiences have gushed over the performances of Boba Cabaret Artistic Director Christa Fredrickson and performers McKensi Karnes, Jamie Smith, and Valerie Mirelez, to the tune of several sold-out performances since the show's initial run in July. Everything Las Cruces recently caught up with Christa to ask her a few questions about 'Gone Girls' and what audiences can expect to see this weekend.

So what's the idea behind 'Gone Girls' and does have anything to do with the psychopathic mind trip of murder and deception from the film with the almost identical name?
We thought it would be funny to name the show 'Gone Girls' because the term is in pop culture right now because of the movie. But also because I thought it would be fun to work with a group of girls to bring the tradition of choral singing to an audience that may not go to a choir concert, but would really appreciate the music in this show, which celebrates women of the past.

The highest-selling girl group of all-time isn't the Spice Girls or the Dixie Chicks or Destiny's Child. It's the Andrews Sisters, the girl group that did wartime songs during the 1940s. And in the '60s, girl groups ruled the airwaves. Fabulous groups like the Cordettes and the Charelles and the Exciters. But girl groups nowadays aren't singing in four parts consistently. And it's sad that that's not a thing anymore. It's more about looking hot and making music that's catchy. So, we're trying to recreate that sound that is gone. We're not limiting to ourselves to the music of the past, though. We want to expand into current music, but put a 'Gone Girls' spin on it. And the music is out there, it's just, unfortunately, confined mostly to choirs. We're hoping to change that.

What went into selecting the singers that comprise the Gone Girls?
When I'm casting, I like to get a sense of working with people and what they can do, and then design things around that, instead of trying to find people to fit into something that is already in my mind. For this show, I really wanted it to be all about the music. A show that bridges the gap between the classical world where I'm trained and the pop world where I like to have a lot of fun.

And unlike other Boba shows I've done, I decided to write very little dialogue for this one. Anything spoken just gives you some context about the songs or artists. With such an emphasis on singing, I needed girls who would be able to bring their 'A' game all of the time, because If one girl loses her part, it doesn't matter how good the other girls sound.

I knew with these girls that I could have a lot of variety musically because we have such diversity in our voices, but also mesh really well together. McKensi is an alto with a sensual, unique, almost smoky quality to her voice. She can hold a part really well, so I knew I wanted to work with her. Jamie has such a nice, light soprano voice that really lends itself to some of the sweeter music, which is kind of her forte. Having her sing the top notes works really well with the others. Val is also a soprano, but she's got a big voice and a lot of soul. I definitely wanted to put her on some solos to bring some flavor.

They're all so fun to work with, such smart musicians, and really quick studies. I've never had such an enjoyable time putting a show together with people who are equally as fun and easy to work with as they are talented. Plus, having everybody up onstage together in matching outfits and matching dances is such an audience pleasing situation. It's just fun to watch and one of the best experiences I've had working on a show.

What can audiences expect to see and hear at the show?
There's all kinds of different music, but it's thematically the same because it's all part singing. I have it pretty much in chronological order, so we start with the Andrews Sisters and 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,' which has us doing some fun choreography, and some of their other hits. Next we sing Gershwin, who has such accessible, romantic music that everybody loves. We girls enjoy it because it has very jazzy and difficult harmonies that really showcase what we can do, in songs like 'Our Love is Here to Stay,' 'Embrace Me,' and 'I Got Rhythm.'

From there, we move on to the girl groups from the '60s, who have more simplistic arrangements, but are so much fun to sing. We go through about  nine or ten different songs within three separate medleys, which I decided to combine as one big long medley. There's a particular medley during this part of the show that I think really embodies what the 'Gone Girls' are all about, and it's when we sing 'Be My Baby,' 'One Fine Day,' and 'Tell Him.'

We have Jamie as a soloist on the first song, then me and McKensi on the second one, and Val on the third. And so you really get to hear our own flavor and individual voices come out during each. At the same time, we are all backup singers and dancers during each other's solos, allowing everyone to take turns being in the spotlight. This way, nobody's carrying the weight, which was my intention for this show in general. I tried to give everybody something really fun to do so that they could all be featured. I didn't want it to be Christa and the Christettes at all!

Finally, I knew I wanted to end it with the Carol King montage, who I have always loved. Her music is just so magical and I feel like so many people don't realize so much of it hers. In fact, one of the medleys in the show is straight out of the Broadway musical of her life story that was recently made. We wrap up her section and the show with 'Beautiful', which has such a great message that I knew we had to close with it.

It's so nice when you love something that you're doing, and other people love it too. It's been really rewarding for me as a director that's coming into my own and figuring out what my voice is. As far as total package shows, this has been the best we've had at Boba. I wouldn't change a thing!

What's next for the Gone Girls?
We're definitely going to continue. So far, 'A Gone Girls Christmas' is booked for December 18-19. Be on the lookout for us beyond that. We're just getting started.