Man, son, father, husband, businessman... Porn stars are people, too. From rags to prison to success—in the adult film industry. James Hardy's fast-clipped biography of the Brooklyn-born Blatino porn star tells it like it is. Raw. Saturday night's performance will feature an audience Q&A, with special guest: Tiger Tyson himself!
When I worked in porn (as a mag editor, not as anything else), Tiger was a big deal. Big as a horse, in fact. I'm not surprised his magnetism has generated a biographical stage show. Better get over there and see it—it's not gonna be livestreamed like She Loves Me.
Three sisters: Kim Kat (Carmen Mendoza), Kourtney Kat (Bridget Kennedy), Khloé Kat (Elliott Brooks)
Okay, like, I got invited to this super exclusive new Off-Broadway show called Katdashians: Break the Musical, and it was seriously the funniest thing everrr or, like, at least, it was a funny thing, you know? Bible.
Katdashians: Break the Musical is the very funny creation of Bob and Tobly McSmith, the warped minds behind past romps like Bayside! The Musical!, Full House: The Musical! and Showgirls!: The Musical. With the McSmiths' perverse combo of legitimately complex songs and gross-out humor, tight direction by tight John Duff (who we would all like to see attempt to break the Internet with his own fame-ready caboose), and Broadway-level choreography by Viva Soudan, the show has more to offer than just cheap laughs at the world's most famous Armenian-Americans.
There goes Times Square (again). (All images in this post by Matthew Rettenmund)
Though there are plenty of cheap laughs, too.
The show follows—wallows in?—the regrettable ascension of the Kardashians, ending somewhere just beyond Caitlyn Jenner's transition. The songs are, as the title suggests, frequently parodies of famous numbers from Cats (which is returning to Broadway in the near future—that legendary musical is as bad as Keeping Up with the Kardashians and apparently just as hard to euthanize permanently), but there are also clever re-workings of tunes by Beyoncé, Madonna and other suitably fabulous fame whores.
And yes, it was “better than Cats.”
A Chorus Feline
Speaking of which, if there is anything limiting about doing a parody of the most famous, most polarizing people alive, it may be that the show works best if you know everything about the Kardashians and also have the Cats original cast recording memorized. Thing is, very few people probably check both boxes. Luckily, the show does work if you're only into one or the other, and even seems to work if you're a novice regarding both. I surveyed some patrons and was surprised how few were well-versed in Kardashian lore, though a girl behind me who claimed she knew nothing knew all the terms in the “How to Speak Kardashian” insert from our program. The guy next to me, who knew zero about the Kardashians, laughed loudly throughout. I mean, jokes about pubic hair and anal sex are pretty universal.
Finding North: Vogue cover subject Kim vogues.
The cast/cats are purrfect, led by Carmen Mendoza as busty, bratty, dusky-Baby Doll Kim Kat. She has her look down pat and has the star quality necessary to function as the epicenter of an attention-logged sect.
Bridget Kennedy as Kourtney Kat is a riot, offering a deadpan, personality-free take that reminded me of the fun femme performances in the late, great American Psycho. She channels a Selma Blair monotone and has the requisite bombshell looks, the exact recipe for Kourtney.
Standing out from an already stellar group is Elliott Brooks as Khloé Kat, whose character gets the Cher-in-Moonstruck treatment as we follow her from Khloé's birth status as a softer, potty-on-me-mouthed version of The Thing to the voluptuous blonde work-out fanatic that she is today. With manic, verbal-diarrhetic glee, she spits out shocking one-liners about anal sex, anal beds, “Shit on a dick!” and projectile vaginal discharge—singing hysterically at one point about the seemingly drug-resistant strain of pubic hair she hosts—and yet still makes the audience root for her. Definitely pick of the litter.
When Mama Jenner introduces her new boyfriend, Corey Gamble.
Bailey Nolan is Kris Kat/Kris Jenner's doppelgänger thanks to the perfect wig and a great vocal imitation; it felt like Kris was appearing in the show herself, which is not something I would put past her. Her counterpart, Peter Smith as Bruce/Catlyn/Caitlyn, nailed the transgender trailblazer's guyish speech and was able to make us cheer for her transition all over again, even though in real life, Caitlyn turned out to be kind of a dud in the inspiration arena. Smith's take on a parody of “Memory” was a show-stopper.
They call me Bruce: Smith's Catlyn was the cat's meow.
Knee-slapping, mutinous scenes featuring choreographer Soudan as Kylie Kat and Ariel Ash as Kendall Kat (in a mask and peek-a-boo unitard, she was the spitting image) had some audience members howling. Alexis Kelley and Jenyvette Vega serve as ass-tastic Dash Dolls.
Let's hope the litter-box office is strong!
Best thing about the show, though, might be the innovation of encouraging (non-flash) photography, and especially selfie-taking, throughout. So if your mind wanders, take a great selfie and let your followers on social media know that you're doing looking good.
In the end, this sometimes almost admiring, more often catty, hoot has its claws out mostly for you, the audience that pretends to revile a family famous only for being famous ... all the while watching their every move like a cat watches a bowl-bound goldfish.
Katdashians: Break the Musical is at the Elektra Theatre at 300 W. 43rd St., NYC, through July 16. Tickets are $25-$45. Visit the site here.
Keep reading for video and pictures from the opening-night champagne toast ...
(Image credits: Tom Hiddleston photographed by Mona Kuhn, styled by Patrick Mackie. Grooming by Cheri Keating at The Wall Group. Digital technicians: Andrea Bartley, Paolo Alfante. Photography assistants: Chris O’Neill, Jared Burkhardt. Fashion assistants: Jay Barrett, Elyse Lightner. Special thanks to the Standard Highline and Chateau Marmont.)
When I first started going, the show was loud and clear about not wanting photography. There even used to be printed banners asking us to respect the dancers; perversely, I own one. (A sign, not a dancer.) But in spite of the stern warnings, photography was never policed, attendees indulged in it liberally, photos and videos littered the Internet and—in spite of protestations from the powers that be concerning the dancers' feelings—the dancers loved everyone's cellular attention and tagged themselves in photos across social media.
I would guess this only broadened the show's reach and helped sell official DVDs and tickets to future performances.
This year, the show's director, the indefatigable Nick Kenkel, granted a fantastic interview to Billboard. Kenkel noted the show is loosening up on its approach to photos. Even without that official word, the photo-friendly atmosphere last night couldn't be missed—no announcement was made, no signs were spotted. Let the games begin. (Within hours of posting a video consisting of 60 seconds of snippets from the show, I received a friendly take-down notice, the first time I've ever heard of this happening after the fact. Perhaps it was because it was video, but Instagram has plenty of that up already, too. Hm.)
With stand-outs Erik Altemus (top), Mark MacKillop (L) & Ben Ryan (R)
I was front-and-center for the June 19, 2016, midnight edition of Broadway Bares 26: On Demand at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The theme was TV, which is kind of like radio doing a special about TV in the '50s considering TV is theater's biggest rival! It seems like millennial gays are increasingly addicted to their shows, like old ladies used to be to soap operas—it's a wonder they can be counted on to buy tickets to anything, even a show like Bares, which is a reliable taint buffet.
Hotness at the show, but not part of the show
In line waiting to get in, an adorable young guy from Utah was trying to remain spoiler-free, looking away from the phones of the guys ahead of him ... they were watching Game of Thrones. He later had to put up with a precociously smashed guy groping him and asking him such long-lost Proust Questionnaire queries as, “How are you even here?” and, “Where do you sleep?”
Not-so-secret stache: Erik Altemus
The show kicked off with “Bares TV,” setting up the plot: Failing TV station (fronted by Lesli Margherita and populated by Morgan Weed, Erik Altemus and Michael Longoria) decides that sex sells, so decides to sell sex from within every offering on the network: News, weather, soaps, VOD and more.
Meryl, 66, looked unrecognizable in Trump's signature dark suit and red tie, layered over a padded suit.
To complete the effect the Hollywood veteran painted her face orange and donned a blonde wig to replicate The Donald's famous coif.
The actress performed a rendition of Cole Porter's “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” alongside Tony-winner and good friend Christine Baranski for the annual event which pays tribute to William Shakespeare.
The duet from the musical Kiss Me Kate, which is based on the Bard's play The Taming of The Shrew, is traditionally sung by male gangsters and advises men how to woo ladies by reciting Shakespeare lines.