Rebellious Soul: The Best Little Stripper Musical You’ve Never Seen

So I don’t know about y’all, but I thought that when Carmen hit the streets we all agreed that urban operas were a bad idea.

I guess K. Michelle never got the memo.

Behold, Rebellious Soul: The Musical-an R&B opera of sorts surrounding the tragic life of a stripper who falls in love with one of her clients. Michelle stars as the dancer down on her luck in love while former boyfriend Idris Elba flexes his skills as director of the show.

Full disclosure: I’m ashamed to say that I completely missed the premiere of the musical on VH1 back in August 2014. In any case, Michelle’s show was waaaay too relevant to the blog to not feature here on Gazmn so I’m writing about it anyway. Happy #ThrowbackThursday.

Michelle’s talent is undeniable. She’s got great range as a singer, she always sounds genuine and passionate when casting her emotions and she’s innovative with the choices she makes in matching romantic, sophisticated instrumentals with unapologetically crass lyrics. Before, I never paid much attention to Michelle because she always faded into the ratchet din of that reality show nightmare, “Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta.” But when I actually stopped and listened to her albums, her interviews and her commentary on her own show, “K. Michelle: My Life,” I was impressed. She always keeps it 100 when talking about her life and the people she interacts with inside of it. I feel like I don’t I come across many contemporary artists/reality stars that are as humble, honest and hardworking as she is.

I wish I were just as impressed by her musical.

Rebellious Soul seems to be inspired by Michelle’s own past as an exotic dancer. (I’m also surmising that the love triangle in the musical is a rip-off of the father of her child who later married one of her sorority sisters. Ouch.) Yet miraculously, the show makes the mistake I’ve seen so many other cultural items make when trying to depict the lives and work environments of strippers. The musical tries to make such a glamorous and melodramatic depiction of Michelle’s stripper character that the show appears to be parodying itself. Either that or the bad acting and awkward costume choices just really throws off the concept. Who wears white, knee-length patent leather boots with cut-off shorts? One of Michelle’s outfits had a camel toe so deep I could hardly hear sing.

I have to give Michelle and Elba credit for trying. The songs, a series of remixes from Michelle’s debut album of the same name, are hella catchy. I just wish that Michelle’s vocals weren’t the only thing that made this musical worth watching. The cheap graphics and an abrupt and random ending totally did the show a disservice.

What do you think of the production? Check out Act I of the musical below and decide for yourself.

Like what you see? Watch the rest of the musical, Acts II and III here and here.


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