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333 posts categorized "THEATRE"

Feb 20 2017
ABA DABA HONEYMOON Period: Actor Carleton Carpenter On His Unfulfilled WWII Gay Love Story, Losing Debbie Reynolds & Cary Grant's Visit To His Dressing Room Comments (0)

6a00d8341c2ca253ef017c31b0e17a970bCarleton Carpenter in fall 2012 (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

“You know, you and I are gonna be singin' 'Aba Daba Honeymoon' when we're both a hundred years old!”

Tumblr_static_tumblr_mc0jo84fvk1re82s3o1_r1_400(GIF via MGM/Matthew Rettenmund/Tumblr @carletoncarpenterfanatic)

So said the late, great Debbie Reynolds to her duet partner and movie co-star Carleton Carpenter over 60 years ago, and while their final performance of the tune together was in 2012 (when she was 80 and he 86), she was right in that their indelible rendition of that old chestnut in the 1950 film Two Weeks with Love was prominently mentioned in every one of Debbie's adoring obituaries. That unforgettable performance only happened thanks to the ingenuity of “Carp,” who recalls duping his boss into thinking it had been his own idea.

Last Live Perf of “Aba Daba Honeymoon” at 5:21: 

“That was a whole big ruse,” the 90-year-old actor recalls in a phone interview from his Warwick, New York, home. “I found that sheet music in a pile on top of a piano on the set of the movie, dug that out and thought it would be fun. I put that sheet of music back underneath the whole pile with a little corner hanging out and I waited about two and a half days until Jack Cummings, who was the producer, was on his way in. I got Deb over and I pulled this out and there was someone playing the piano there and I said, 'Don’t bother with any of the beginning stuff, just start here,' and we jabbered away. He came in and walked over to where we were singing and he said, 'You know —' it was hard to keep a straight face! — 'That would be a good number for the two of you…' And I said with the straightest face ever, 'Reallllly?' The rest is history.”

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 12.48.33 PMCarpenter & Reynolds performing “Aba Daba Honeymoon” at a Busby Berkeley Thalians tribute in 1971

Carpenter, not a household name except in the households of true cinephiles, has nonetheless Scan 5made history more than once in his 70-plus-year career, starting with the unprecedented chart success of “Aba Daba Honeymoon” and continuing with his work in early TV, spectacular runs on Broadway and Off- (he took over the lead in the original production of The Boys in the Band), his nonchalant handling of his bisexuality and, now, the publication of his detail-packed memoir, The Absolute Joy of Work: From Vermont to Broadway, Hollywood and Damn Near 'Round the World (BearManor Media, $24.95).

With typical humility, Carpenter chalks up his success to luck and pursuing an acting career with the naïveté of a kid from Vermont who showed up in Times Square 100% convinced he was right for the part — any part, some part.

He says he got his first Broadway show, Bright Boy, fresh off the bus one frigid January in 1944 at age 17. He picked up Actor's Cues for a nickel, went somewhere to grab a bite and found his calling. “They were looking for 17-to-20-year-old guys for a play and I thought, 'I’ll just go get that after lunch.' I got over there and they said it was on the top floor and when I got up there, you heard them rumble from the room and the door opened and the guy was leading somebody out the door and I was there and he said, 'You’re too old!' and took the other actor down. A guy sitting there grabbed the bottom of my heavy winter coat and said, 'They told me the same thing six months ago… and I’m still reading for the part!'”

Scan 4Carpenter & Michael Dreyfus in Bright Boy (Image via Carleton Carpenter)

That did it. “Off came the coat and I scrunched down behind several people and smoked three or four cigarettes and probably 35 or 40 minutes later the same guy with the slate board in his hand came over and said, 'Hey, you’re next.' I went in and read five different parts and they gave me the show and told me to go into the other room and read it, so I did. Then they told me they wanted me in the show, but they didn’t know what part, and could I come in the next morning? I left and was practically on top of Grand Central, so I picked up my bag and headed for my mother’s second cousin’s place. He asked me how I did and I said, 'I think I have a show.' He said, 'That’s nice.'” 

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Feb 15 2017
It's The Electorate That Got Small!: Hillary Gets Standing O At SUNSET BOULEVARD Comments (0)

16807180_10154496172723282_2527724436465688964_n(Image by Jeremy Daniel)

Continuing her tour of Broadway productions, Hillary Clinton arrived at Sunset Boulevard this evening to a rapturous standing O:

I saw the show last week, sans Hillary. My impressions: It's still not a very good show, but it's solid enough, and has those three crazy-good songs (that bring the house down).

In a stripped-down, chic-looking production, Glenn Close is 70 playing 50 trying to be 20, and I think the fact that she pulls it off is a testament to how differently we view age. She definitely is a wildly different Norma Desmond than Swanson, and her age does change the vibe, but just makes the story a little more desperate.

Close is in good voice and overcomes fairly forgettable trappings, not including the eye-popping wardrobe, which I understand is original to the first production. (Which I saw!)

It's definitely a show worth seeing, if only for Close's triumph.

 
Feb 13 2017
6-PACK — Internet Volunteering To Shave Katy Perry's Head + BryanStars Comes Out + Trump Shake-Up? + A.G. Going After Trump's Ban Motives + Speedo Of The Gods + Haring Is Caring! Comments (0)

6a00d8341c2ca253ef01bb08e9cf88970d-800wiNow that everyone has made fun of Britney's head-shaving meltdown, Katy Perry did it and is getting ROASTED.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef01bb08e9cf88970d-800wiBryanStars, popular YouTuber from Nebraska, comes out as gay in emotional video at age 26. Sweet how sincere it is:

6a00d8341c2ca253ef01bb08e9cf88970d-800wiHere's how we know even Trump knows he is crashing and burning: Staff shake-up rumors already.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef01bb08e9cf88970d-800wiWashington state A.G. promises to depose Trump officials to get to the bottom of the real reason for his ill-fated Muslim travel ban.

Static.playbillJudith Light, Al Pacino & Garrett Clayton in God Looked Away (Image by Jim Cox)

6a00d8341c2ca253ef01bb08e9cf88970d-800wiAn absolutely PACKED blue Speedo. Coffee in his underwear. Garrett Clayton makes underwear-clad stage debut.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef01bb08e9cf88970d-800wiKeith Haring is the subject of a children's book.

9780525428190(Image via Penguin)

 
Feb 10 2017
6-PACK — Flynn Lied About Russian Wheeling, Dealing + Saudis Pay Trump + Trump's Easy D + RIP Porn Actor Max Schutler + Good Riddance Racist Porn Actor Cameron Diggs + CRUEL Hummer + Happy V.D. Day! Comments (0)

WIDGETFlynn reportedly lied about his pre-election chats with Russia, opening the door to allegations of treason — possibly ensnaring VP Pence.

WIDGETSaudis paid for Trump hotel room; no coincidence they're not on the Muslim ban list.

WIDGETTurns out Trump is looking for easy D. I would've guessed Pence, but okay.

Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 11.01.41 AMMax Schutler (Images via Darius/Jorge Schmeda)

WIDGETAnother gay-porn star dies young, with no cause immediately available. White-supremacist gay-porn star Cameron Diggs arrested after SWAT raid. (Work Unfriendly)

CqY2i8YWgAAFa7f(Image via Cameron Diggs)

WIDGETMy advice is to see as many musicals as possible: It's Cruel Intentions: The Musical.

16507968_752196124949276_7075836774052575177_n(Image via Cruel Intentions: The Musical)

WIDGETHappy Valentine's Day! Check out the incidence of STDs (gono and chlamydia) state by state. Spoiler alert: Deep South has a lot.

Map2(Image via BackgroundChecks.org)

 
Feb 07 2017
Best Friends Forever: A Review Of Nora Burns's DAVID'S FRIEND Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 1.52.01 PMA story with heart (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

My cultural benefactors John & Sheldon — not really, but they do get me to go see things I'd otherwise not get motivated to see — invited me to David's Friend, the show by Unitard comic Nora Burns, a few weeks ago. I bought my ticket knowing next to nothing about it. By the time I entered the Club at La Mama this weekend, it was already touted as a hot ticket.

Check out my 2015 Unitard review here!

In 60 minutes, Burns (pictured) provides an unapologetically sentimental Bioremembrance of the original best friend forever, David, a fellow Massachusetts teen who joined her in running off to NYC at the end of the '70s, and the beginning of what would beecome a live-fast-die-young adventure.

Except Nora survived.

Over time, the eventual artist has been driven to memorialize their toss-my-salad days, when she stripped and he hustled and both did so many drugs this might be why Quaaludes became scarce, and when both became friendly with the types of artists drawn to the city back when it was seedily affordable. She is reliving that era onstage in a joyous way that gives contact euphoria and a sense of connection to the audience, and also in a way that sloppily and then — with unexpected precision — provides a sketch of her fallen friend and their eternal friendship so vivid it's hard to believe he wasn't a member of the cast.

2-6Back in the gay: Nora & David (This & photo booth image via Nora Burns)

At times, it's as if she is taking our hands and putting them into her side; her approach to show and tell is to skip both and instead to conjure and to make manifest.

The story is deceptively slight; the two danced their asses off. In fact, they met dancing on a speaker and seemingly only climbed down when he eventually became sick with AIDS and when she, later on, settled down with a husband and children. Their time on the speaker sounds like a mad dash from one party to another, and from the safety of suburbia to the more interesting, more dangerous nooks and crannies of a city that no longer exists.

While nostalgic and affectionate, the show is never whitewashed — plenty of STIs, jealous fits and jobs from hell are recalled, and her Valentine to NYC is spiked by a recurring image of the city in the '70s and '80s as a pile of junk teeming with rats and predators. But if you're one of those people who thinks the city is now a Giulianified shell of its former self, you will understand her longing for not just her friend but their grimy stomping grounds.

Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 1.54.39 PMPage from a drag calendar David put together (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

Nora's delivery is utterly sincere. It is also funny, except for when it veers into Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 1.43.25 PM sadness, when it becomes difficult to imagine how she puts herself through such a naked (and public) connection to still-raw grief each performance.

She is so uncompromisingly honest, it might make you squirm when she cheerfully announces she needs gay men to provide the witty Oscar banter these days (she's got to be kidding! she's hysterical!) or when she drives home that she is a classic fag hag. There is a degree of supplication, but I think it's also just a reflection of her devotion to the best person she ever met.

David is beautifully remembered in this warm and scrappy show in a way he may never have been able to imagine, knowing Nora as he did then — and never getting to know Nora as she was later, is now.

Due to an outbreak of raves, David's Friend — directed by Adrienne Truscott and also featuring Billy Hough —has been extended. Along with other lessons, one the show offers is: Spend your time wisely. This applies to theater, too.

********************

Separate from my review, something that struck me about the show is that it is another example of something that elicits from me a longing to have been a part of the era that came just before me, which is also always laced with gratitude that I barely missed the inevitability of AIDS.

Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 12.09.55 PMSelf-portrait of Dillard from one of his books (Image by Gavin Geoffrey Dillard)

Hearing of David's recklessly fabulous life at Studio 54 and strolling Manhattan's dives and clinics in silver hotpants and leather definitely ignited that dormant fascination, as did the name-dropping of the ubiquitious Patrick McMullan (such a dishy appearance his name makes in the show, and he later shot it) and also of Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, the so-called Naked Poet.

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Feb 03 2017
This Is How NYC Theater-Goers React To Decent Politicians, Pence Comments (0)

When Hill & Bill attended In Transit on Broadway, there was no booing, just lots of oohing.

Performer Telly Leung posted this video of Hillary speaking to the admiring throngs after the show. How she can be so chipper, I'll never know: 

 
Jan 24 2017
Just The Alternative Facts, Ma'am: Randy Rainbow Takes On Kellyanne Conway Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 11.28.55 AM(Video still via Randy Rainbow)

You knew this one was coming — Randy Rainbow gets catty with Kellyanne Conway ...

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Jan 14 2017
Handsome Devil Dick Gautier, Hymie The Robot On GET SMART, Dies @ 85 Comments (0)

6a00d8341c2ca253ef0192ac104dfc970d-800wiDick Gautier — October 30, 1931-January 13, 2017

Dick Gautier, best-known as Hymie on Get Smart in six episodes from 1966 to 1968 (and in the 1989 reunion TV movie), died yesterday at 85 after years of declining health.

Along with being a familiar face on TV, he received a Tony nomination for playing Conrad Birdie in the original 1960BIO2.150dpi production of Bye, Bye Birdie, humorously (and sexily) channeling Elvis for the teen-idol role.

Of being picked to try out for the Birdie role by Gower Champion (1919-1980) himself, he recalled in 2014:

They asked me to read for this thing. I was a little put off because I didn't like rock and roll. Not at that point. I said, “I don't think it's for me. I like Jerome Kern and George Gershwin.”

They said, “Will you at least come in and audition?” I went in and they said, “Would you sing an Elvis song?” I said, “I don't know any Elvis songs.” So they just played some blues and I ad-libbed and I guess they liked it. Couple months later they called.

He begrudgingly took the role and his career changed.

HymieGautier in his most famous role — Hymie (Image via CBS)

You may also remember Gautier from The Patty Duke Show (which lost most of its original cast in 2016), The Mary Tyler Moore Show (a lothario) or other guest appearances in the '60s, '70s and '80s.

I recall him from Tattletales, on which he appeared with then-wife Barbara Stuart (1930-2011):

 

I was fortunate enough to meet Gautier at one of my beloved autograph shows. He was charming, and flirty with the idea of his gay fans. He seemed like a sweet guy.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef01901e50f8f2970b-800wiMe & my Dick (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

 


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