Best Theater Surprise

Saving Aimee

The 5th Avenue Theater is a great place to see classic musicals. Its rendition of Guys and Dolls last year was a joyous reminder of why the 1950s musicals are among the best of all time. Yet the theater's repertoire can also seem stale—which is why Saving Aimee was a blast of fresh air. Snobs may deride the connection with TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford, who wrote the book and lyrics. Don't listen to them. Saving Aimee offers a refreshingly original story and a strong female character who also happens to be a fascinating historical figure: onetime celebrity evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. She was played with verve by Carolee Carmello in the 5th Avenue's fall production. "Have you got a dream?" Carmello asked as McPherson, her rousing voice filling the theater. Our dream is that Saving Aimee gets more productions. NINA SHAPIRO 1308 Fifth Ave.,

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