196 posts categorized "THEATRE REVIEW"

Nov 20 2015
Prose Before Hos: A Review Of TARTUFFE! Comments (0)


516116_e6449b002afd47b38a80e8cea1cb830eMy cousin, Dustin (pictured, left), has lived in NYC for a dozen years ... and we've seen each other approximately three times. All throughout, he's been an actor and has occasionally suggested to me (via social media) shows in which he was appearing that I could attend, but I knew something was up when he implored me to attend his latest. I knew that any smart actor would want to show off a good performance or a good project ... and I was right on both counts.

Three Day Hangover's Tartuffe!—brilliantly updated from Molière's 17-century classic by Jake Brandman and just as brilliantly directed by Beth Gardiner—is a hysterically funny take that imagines the titular fraud (smarmtastic Tom Schwans) as a right-wing politician. The modernization is distressingly topical, retooling Tartuffe as a sort of secretly gay Donald Trump, a buffoon propped up by the money of his clueless benefactress, Olga (Carol Linnea Johnson, who nails her character with a dash of Julia Duffy and a tablespoon of Ana Gasteyer).

516116_dc215bbc36874084849979da00ebe474Mr. Schwans appears in his underwear in this production, which is definitely how Olivier got started.

Olga is so taken with Tartuffe (her mother, a gasbag portrayed in drag by Dillon Heape, is even more entranced) she would do anything to feed his ambitions, including offering up the hand of her pregnant airhead of a daughter (pitch-perfect Abbey Siegworth) in order to resolve the voter-unfriendliness of his devout bachelorhood.

516116_6d710a6740cd467b980b7fae6570417aWhite mischief

Aided and abetted by Dustin Charles's subversively heroic-turned-parodic portrayal of a 420-friendly, firebrand liberal reminiscent of Rob Reiner's Meathead and an out-of-this-world turn (more like a pirouette) by Dan Morrison as a coked-up would-be assassin, the production is funny enough to enjoy without getting wasted, and yet the troupe takes no chances: Throughout, the show stops for audience-participation moments of the drinking game Never Have I Ever.

And after you've experienced this show, there won't be many things you never haven't ever seen, done or laughed at.

Catch Tartuffe! closing night, tomorrow, Saturday, November 21, at McAlpin Hall at West Park Church/86th & Amsterdam.

Nov 19 2015
The Boys (And Girl) In The Band: A Review Of STEVE Comments (0)

STEVE-prod-98Malcolm Gets, Jerry Dixon, Mario Cantone & Matt McGrath in Steve, by Monique Carboni

I went into the new Off-Broadway play Steve, directed by Cynthia Nixon, worrying it would be another Jeffrey. But what's in a name?

Steve is less Jeffrey than it is a genuinely insightful update of The Boys in the Band, complete with angst, sexual battle lines, healthy self-loathing and—above all—intelligent humor. There's no hooker, but there's plenty of whoring, all of which is implied rather than shown for cheap thrills, and some of which leads to hysterical and at times unexpectedly heartwarming reactions.

Best of all, in spite of various other plays to which it could be compared, Steve is a new work, and a successful one at that.

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Nov 10 2015
PAPA, Can You Hear Me? Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.08.14 AM(Credit: Joan Marcus)

Adam Feldman reviews Dada Woof Papa Hot for Time Out New York.

Nov 06 2015
A Collection Of BROADWAY BARES Posts Comments (0)

BROADWAY BARES (2008—2013, 2015)

Boy Culture turns 10, so look for a massive missive on some of my favorite-ever posts today. Until then, here's a fun-the-fun-of-it round-up of my Broadway Bares coverage.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 12.53.02 AMI had never so much as seen a male stripper when my friend Jason pushed me hard to come to Broadway Bares with him. Manhattan's annual burlesque charity show for HIV/AIDS was a real eye-opener (and an effective wallet-opener, too). I quickly became enamored of, well, most of the guys on the stage. I wound up becoming a fixture at the shows (is that a..."good" thing?), and my coverage has delighted and, occasionally, horrified the participants. (The kindest take-down notice I ever got was when Guto Bittencourt took me to coffee to politely ask if I might consider removing a video of him in the nude. Some others were a little more direct, but no one was ever rude or freaked out.)

Unfortunately, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS spent an inordinate amount of time fighting me—they would never credential me, and when they did finally invite LOTS of press to cover a Solo Strips event, I didn't make the cut...and their marketing manager threatened to have me kicked out while demanding I stop taking photos. I skipped a year and got over it.

Anyway, I think most of the participants are, or should be, proud of their bodies and their artistic contributions to this unique event.

Following: All of my coverage of Bares and of its related Solo Strips events, roughly in chronological order...

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Oct 22 2015
Need To Know: He's LOOKING To The Stage + RIP Beauty & The Beast + Ass-tounding Attribute + Hell, No! She Won't Cho! + MORE! Comments (0)

*widget boy cultureRussell Tovey singing on Broadway?! Images

*widget boy cultureThe very unpopular Marty Ingels, hubby to Shirley Jones, has died.

*widget boy culturePetticoat Junction & sexploitation bombshell Pat Woodell dies @ 71.

*widget boy cultureSexy, ass-tastic Kayne Lawton.

*widget boy cultureMargaret Cho slams SNL for racist Donald Trump as host.

*widget boy cultureLaverne Cox as Frank-N-Furter for FOX? Hmmm.

*widget boy cultureTwo gay inspirational figures meet.

*widget boy cultureTotally cute dude, totally nude.

*widget boy cultureVincent Price's daughter confirms her dad was down with sexing men. Images

Vincent-price01The Vincent Price of salt

Sep 19 2015
Bitch, I'm (Not) Madonna: Nadya Ginsburg Crowds Madge's Pole Comments (0)

IMG_2632Nadya in full sneer as the Big M. (Photo by Matthew Rettenmund)

I was lucky enough to catch Nadya Ginsburg's second NYC performance of Madonnalogues at the Laurie Beechman, which—as she pointed out in character as Madonna—is in “the bowels of the West Bank Café.”

With her hysterical YouTube videos and this ever-evolving (some might say she re-invents herself) one-woman show, Ginsburg skewers Madonna and our perceptions of her, both positive and negative, fearlessly. Sometimes it's so funny it hurts, but it's always funny because she's a true student of Madonna, not a lazy hater. The foibles she holds up for mockery apply not only to Madonna, but to our culture, and to us all.

Well, maybe the joke about banging Rocco's friends is a little ... specific.

IMG_2661Gypsys, tramps & tweets (Photo by Matthew Rettenmund)

Along with Madonna, Ginsburg nails Cher (perhaps even more perfectly???) and Winona Ryder, plus tries out a character best described as someone an Amy Sedaris creation would find weird.

IMG_2675Your friendly guide (Photo by Matthew Rettenmund)

The show's highlights would have to be her pitch-perfect recitations of Cher's otherworldly tweets and the finale, an extended peek at Madonna's creative proh-cess while in the recording studio.

IMG_2699Madonna's Hilary-Duff-in-a-bad-mood phase (Photo by Matthew Rettenmund)

Ginsburg ended her well-received show (which was packed with many of the same faces I've been seeing at this week's Rebel Heart Tour shows) with a short speech about how Madonna can't win, and how her fun-poking is not meant to draw blood.

IMG_2731I totally relate to Nadya, who has the ability to be mean ... but worries about it. (Photo by Matthew Rettenmund)

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 12.50.27 AMThat, we already knew.

Catch her anytime you can—her sugar is raw.

P.S. The performance was given an unfunnily great rendition of Madonna's “Devil Pray” by recording artist Coby Koehl (pictured at left).

Bitch could sing.

Keep reading for some shots from after the show ...

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Sep 03 2015
Jersey Boy: Tommy, Can You Hear Him? Comments (0)

RORYKaplan backstage

I am the last person in the world who has not seen Jersey Boys, the wildly popular jukebox musical from 2005 that's based on the tumultuous story behind Franki Valli & The Four Seasons.

I was the last person, that is—I got around to seeing it last night.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 12.49.28 AMThe occasion was Rory Max Kaplan stepping into the role he usually understudies, that of founding group member Tommy DeVito. I was blown away by Kaplan last year in Nothing But Trash, so I wasn't about to miss his Broadway debut.

Kaplan didn't disappoint. A fine actor and swoon-worthy singer as it is (and the role allows him to show off both talents), he's even more remarkable for his physicality, which informs his performance and gives it a bristling intensity appropriate for a local hood made good who couldn't help pissing away nearly a million bucks in 1960s dollars. When Kaplan delivered sardonic one-liners, they always found their mark, as did the notes in his impressive range, but whenever he slipped into dance, he was even more in his element. The boy doesn't just have moves, he understands and has outstanding control of movement.

5e9121_c614f6bca424495e9316ee904feef68d.jpg_srb_p_1024_1024_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srbKaplan, Matt Bogart, Domenic Scaglione Jr. & Quinn VanAntwerp

The only criticism I have is that when his character was described as not taking pride in his appearance and wearing underwear three days in a row, it was hard to reconcile that charge while looking at the immaculate triple threat commanding the stage.

After 10 years, things are well-oiled to a fault in Jersey Boys, but the company is on-point, so if you are into the tunes, you will be doing what the people in the front mezzanine were doing—bopping along. I do have to say I was particularly blown away by Quinn VanAntwerp as Bob Gaudio—his vocals were out of this world, and firmly in the one in which the sounds of The Four Seasons were burning up the charts.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 1.26.55 AM

FRANKIEAt show's end, Kaplan warmly invited me backstage to chat. There, I got to say hello to Frankie J. Galasso, who had stepped into various roles that night ... and who I knew from when I was a teen-mag editor and he was in the boy band Dream Street. Great memories of those boys (who sold very close to a million copies of their album, back when people paid for music), and he was as sweet as ever.

Img501Flashback pic of Frankie, dead center, with Dream Street, cradling the magazine I founded and edited

I await the Dream Street jukebox musical.

While we wait, catch Rory Max Kaplan in the role of Tommy until September 6.

Sep 01 2015
Dammit, Janet, They Love You Comments (0)

Janet Jackson launched her world tour last night. Sounds like it was an unabashed, stan-pleasing oldies tour, albeit one with new-song surprises.

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 2.10.10 PMComfy


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