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98 posts categorized "THEATRE REVIEW"

Apr 18 2017
6-PACK — THE MOST FABULOUS STORY EVER TOLD Ignites Furor + Comic Has Conflicted Views On Gays + Sheryl Crow Wants Female Musicians To Cover Up + Nikki Haley Addresses Chechnya Gay Crisis + Copping A Feel + Unitard Magic! Comments (0)

Gay-most-fabulous-story-ever-told(Image by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

WIDGETThe New York Times: The more things change, the more they stay the same — religious objections to blasphemous gay play The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. Tickets!

Lavell-CrawfordLavell Crawford (Video still via VLADTV)

WIDGETBET: Comic Lavell Crawford's own father was gay, but he says being gay is “still f*cking weird,” conflates it with the trans push for bathroom rights, says we're not born gay.

WIDGETYouTube @ AXS TV: Sheryl Crow clucks her tongue at Madonna (by name) and probably Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj, among others, by implication, for having sexy art:

WIDGETJoe.My.God.: Nikki Haley is the highest-ranking Trumpster to acknowledge and demand answers about the Chechen concentration camp for gay men.

WIDGETTowleroad: When you don't want cops to keep their hands to themselves:

WIDGETJoe's Pub: Do not miss Unitard if you're in NYC in May — I saw them once and fell in love, and saw Nora Burns solo once and fell even harder.

Unitard-2017-NEW-Hero(Image via Unitard)

 
Apr 08 2017
Forever Hold His Peace: A Review Of DANIEL'S HUSBAND Comments (0)

DanielsHusband1-1491470159.pngRyan Spahn & Matthew Montelongo in Daniel's husband (Images by James Leynse)

Early on in Daniel's Husband — a new play by Michael McKeever, directed by Joe Brancato at the beautiful Cherry Lane Theatre — I started to sink in my seat. An opening scene at a bougie gay dinner party peopled by a generic crabby writer and his generic architect lover, and an aging lothario with his never-seen-a-vinyl-album-in-person twink date mate of two weeks, had me convinced I was about to see a play I had already seen 100 times or more.

Instead, the stock characters began to flesh out in unexpected ways, the familiar banter (featuring several too many jokes about dating younger men) became less pat. Soon, the play's entire equilibrium was disrupted by the arrival of the kind of overbearing mom any early shrink would have referred to as a confirmed-bachelor-maker, and something had changed.

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Mar 23 2017
Holy Cabooses! Bette Midler's HELLO, DOLLY! Is A Joy Comments (0)

1-1048_Bette-Midler-in-HELLO-DOLLY-Photo-by-Julieta-CervantesBette Midler as Dolly (Image by Julieta Cervantes)

I'll cut to the chase — I adored the latest revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler.

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Mar 18 2017
6-PACK — Bootylicious Life + JERSEYLICIOUS Death + A New Kind Of GLASS MENAGERIE + North Miami's LGBTQ Legacy + A Trump Voter Who Gets It + Trump, Who Does Not Get It! Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 5.30.17 PM(Video still via YouTube @BOYZ)

WIDGETManRumpsXXX: Check out “Talk Like Sex,” a François Sagat butt-a-thon (Work Unfriendly), after the jump below ...

Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 5.40.14 PMMike Aktari died at 28, Auntie Fee at 59 (Images via Facebook)

WIDGETExtraTV: Sexy Mike Aktari of Jerseylicious and sassy Auntie Fee of YouTube cooking fame have both died.

WIDGETThe Film Experience: Is Sally Field in The Glass Menagerie sublime?

WIDGETPress Release: Artist Alan Gutierrez unveils sculpture to “celebrate the legacy of Miami-Dade County's LGBTQ champions.” It covers 1977-2017, includes Moonlight.

UnnamedHonoring those who blazed trails (Image via News Travels Fast)

WIDGETDaily Kos: White Southern male voter for Trump admits he was wrong — goes viral:

WIDGETAOL: Trump rages against FAKE NEWS, claiming his awkward meeting with Merkel — he refused to shake her hand! — went great. I say:

Tumblr_inline_on0quaaOe31qkdw6j_500(GIF via The Lisp)

Keep reading for that amazing, butt-tastic Sagat short subject ...

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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 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.

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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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Jan 27 2017
Grace & Grace: The Moving Bond Between A Girl & Her Gay That Changed Them Both Comments (0)

49513590.cached(Image via Nora Burns)

Via Kenneth in the (212): Nora Burns is known for her loopy comedy shows, but it's the return of her acclaimed David's Friend that has become a hot ticket in Manhattan.

The show, while considered comic, is tinged with sadness, chronicling her intense friendship with a man who was struck down by AIDS in 1993, just before the rise of life-extending drugs for HIV. 

 

".....David Burns.....He was my best friend. We met dancing on a platform one night at #BostonBoston when we were 17. We spent the rest of the night rolling each other around the Fenway in a shopping cart with a boom box and didn’t leave each others side for the next several years. I moved to #NYC that fall and he came several months later, it was 1979. We had amazing adventures and spoke a language I’ve never had with anyone else. He died in 1993 and I miss him more than I can say, but he left me a wonderful legacy: many of the people I love and admire most I met through David so I would just like to say, Thank you David, I love you" - by Nora Burns #davidsfriend #whatisrememberedlives #theaidsmemorial #aidsmemorial #neverforget #endaids

A photo posted by The AIDS Memorial (@the_aids_memorial) on

Burns was besties with David Burns — they were so close he changed his surname to hers — in the '70s, '80s and '90s, forging a bond that was legendary around town, with David instrumental in the running of Wigstock:

Would she and David have enjoyed a different sort of dynamic in any other sort of time or place? Burns demurred. “When you’re kids, you’re kids, no matter when it is—even now.”

Her tale is not so much about that time as it is about their lives at the time. Even though they ran in admittedly fabulous circles—including the fabled Studio 54 and later populated by colorful characters such as prominent drag artists Joey Arias and Lady Bunny (David helped the latter run the raucous and iconic Wigstock annual festival in the late ’80s)—Burns does not claim that hers is the definitive account of the setting. “I don’t go, ‘So we were at this party with Halston and then Liza showed up!’ It was everyone’s world, a smaller world then. There are far more fabulous people with star-studded stories to tell, and I leave it to them to tell.”

Check out Luis Damian Veron's interview with Nora Burns at The Daily Beast, and get your tickets for David's Friend here.

 
Jan 09 2017
Absolutely No Regrets: A Review Of PIAF!: THE SHOW Comments (0)

15826462_10154649452396001_8707316754049986677_nImages of Piaf were projected onto the walls of the performance hall as Carrere sang. (Image by Matthew Rettenmund; other images by G. Marsalla)

I spent Friday evening listening to Edith Piaf sing at Carnegie Hall in the '50s. 

Actually, the event was Piaf! The Show, we were in the Fifties in NYC and the singer was Anne Carrere, but close Please-credit-photo-by-g-marsalla_27637841531_oenough — Carrere hauntingly summons Piaf's vocal stylings so beautifully it has been said she possesses the legend's instrument at her peak. In a warm, witty rendering of all the songs Piaf made famous, Carrere's challenge was to inhabit Piaf's unique style while giving us flashes of her own personality.

She succeeded.

Act I consisted of early Piaf, 16 French numbers performed with gusto by Carrere and her tight band. Carrere looked the part enough to create an illusion but not enough to appear to be a caricature. The crowd was eating from the palm of her hand, so delighted were they to be hearing songs in what was likely the native language of more than a few.

After an intermission, Carrere & Co. returned for 12 more tunes, these more modern and among Piaf's signature hits. With each number the crowd grew more enthusiastic, awaiting the inevitable arrival of “La Vie en Rose” and “Non, Je ne Regrette Rien.” Carrere performed cheekily, leaving the stage to flirt with audience members, some of whom were all to eager to flirt back. (When she approached a woman, the attendee stood and shook her breasts, which earned her a skip.)

The only less than perfect part of the evening was when a creepy guy overeagerly volunteered to dance with Carrere onstage. Even seated, his body movements were disturbingly suggestive, threatening to kill the buzz of an incredibly emotional and faultlessly classy evening for Carrere, who was debuting at Carnegie Hall 60 years after Piaf's famed gig there. Her own respect for Piaf and her charm as a newcomer to the world stage won out.

Please-credit-photo-by-g-marsalla_27102215893_o

Wayward audience members aside, the evening was magical, driven by Carrere's indefatigable growl and her sweetness in admitting to us how much it meant for her to be able to bring us those songs in that place in that context.

For us, too, and for any big fan of Piaf; this is a show that can't be missed. Let it pass you by and you will regret it.

Piaf!: The Show has about 400 upcoming shows scheduled through 2019 in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Info here.

Set list after the jump ...

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