Motown and Beyond by Diana Villamonte in the Red Room Cabaret PV

Gary R. Beck - Beck's Best
July 31, 2017


Stunning is the Word. It sums up what Diana does onstage to her onlookers. Word has been circulating that she was a fine singer, a new force and how intensely talented this young lady is but Stunning is the best way to describe this evening at The Red Room Cabaret. Danny and Alfonso have brought her in for a debut to Puerto Vallarta and are to be commended because this woman will knock the attendees wild, for a loop. Danny announced that she has already signed for a run in this winter season, most likely November. Watch for her poster announcing dates for this is a ticket you absolutely must have. Consider Act II's Opening Night Series which is discounted with many of the evenings featuring a pre-show buffet displayed on The Encore Bar's counter.

The audience had a slightly nervous buzz anxious for their eyes and ears to behold this beauty. She is from Panama and her show is a musical tribute, sung in English, to many great ladies of Motown and beyond. A taped intro was played describing the importance of Motown music on the genre and actually the entire world. He also related that many other R&B singers would be saluted, from the USA to Europe. Diana Ross opened the show as the new star came out in fine form with a wig very true to Ross' image. "I'm Coming Out", she declared. Her voice was strong, on target and beautiful on the ear. Delightful. She is a class act which must not be missed.

She flowed into one of the all-time greats, Etta James, giving her top respect. "At Last", the phenomenal tune, thrilled the listeners gathered, emphasizing the immense talent this woman possesses and we were blessed with her presence.

Aretha Franklin was necessarily tributed with her huge hit "Respect", then Diana placed all her soul into a remarkable [You Make Me Feel like] A Natural Woman" which is a standout in her current show, followed by the stupendous composition by Aretha's sister Carolyn "Ain't No Way", sung emotionally and heart wrenching. Some present felt she could make an entire show in tribute to Aretha. Donna Summer "Hot Stuff and "Last Dance" showed this singer's domination of the disco era. Memories took us back to the dance floor.

Anita Ward clang in the New Year [when often sung] with "Ring My Bell", a song not heard very often so the performance was soothing and endearing. Nina Simone's cover of "I Put a Spell On You" was delicious and sexy. Diana has grasped this tune into her artistic being. In both sets, she was dressed glamorously with her hair looking chic stylish.

Shirley Bassey's version of "I [Who Have Nothing]", originally charted by Ben E. King followed by Tom Jones, among others. She nailed the tune which was one of the highlights of this evening. "If You Go Away" reminded us all of the power of Shirley. Diana could again fill an entire show with her wide discography or merely themes from James Bond movies [think "Goldfinger"]. Diana used her strong set of lungs to travel vocally from soft sweetness to full rich phrases. No themed show as this one would be complete without a recording by Whitney Houston. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody", energized the crowd encouraging some members to clap their hands with the beat.

Diana has studied music, ballet, modeling and theater, blossoming from a little girl's dream of singing for people. In 2014, she won the Karaoke World Championship in Stockholm, Sweden and participated in the Tokyo International Karaoke competition for two years. Her newfound notoriety led her to television in Central America. Diana also performed with her band at the Hard Rock Hotel Panama, producing two singles, "Te Amo" and "Running", and sang in "Rhythms of the Night".

She competed in Act II's The Voice of Vallarta 2017 with her singing ability and incredible stage presence evident every week. The crowd raved and cried for more. This young talented lady has bright stars on her horizon and we are fortunate to be granted the opportunity to observe her path and encourage her upward. She is a stunning force onstage.

You can catch Diana Villamonte in the Red Room Cabaret at at Act II Stages on August 1 and 5 at 7:30 pm. For the 2017-2018 winter season, Diana's shows have been added on November 11, 18, 25, and December 9, 28 at 7:30pm. December 9, 16, 28 at 5:00 pm. January - April, Every Thursday at 5:00pm.

Act II Entertainment STAGES complex is located at Insurgentes 300 (at the corner of Basilio Badillo & Insurgentes) 2nd Floor, Zona Romántica, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. Telephone is 322.222.1512. Show info and tickets available online at Act II PV. Box Office opened daily at 5:00 pm on show days with a 2nd Box Office location across the street from Garbos on Pulpito street in the Romantic zone. Email act2entertainmentproductions@gmail.com for questions or more info.

For more reviews of performances in Puerto Vallarta, visit More of Beck's Best: Theater, Cabaret and More!

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