ABOVE: Good thigh game.
ABOVE: Good thigh game.
ABOVE: Summer's end.
ABOVE: Orlando Bloom is now at the age where he is Bryan Cranston when he takes a selfie from a low angle — and I am good with that.
ABOVE: Best booty on the Eastern Seaboard.
In Sea Wall/A Life, a pair of one-man monologues directed by Carrie Cracknell that opened Thursday, Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal take turns bringing to life two unlikely men for 2019 — men with hearts, men whose brand of masculinity is not intrusive or poisonous, but is instead open and reflective. They are good guys, they are good husbands, they are good sons, and they are imperfect, which makes them even better. Their humility invites the audience to mourn the holes in their souls, created by loss, and to celebrate the dense, sensitive parts unmarred by the voids.
Sea Wall (by Simon Stephens) finds Sturridge holding listeners rapt with a story of a young dad who is happy to have not “it all,” but more than he ever dreamed. It is staged in a simplistic way that nonetheless reminded me of a spare Dalí landscape, filled with clues and foreshadowing. His performance is slightly flat, if charming, but it suits the character, who might be reciting his life's greatest tragedy from within PTSD.
Not being a big fan of jukebox musicals, I didn't rush out to see The Cher Show on Broadway. But being a big fan of Cher, I couldn't resist forever, and made the pilgrimmage this week.
I was able to quickly snap out of my disdain for the form thanks to powerful and perfectly calibrated performances by the women playing Cher as a hippie teen called Babe (Micaela Diamond), as a mid-life superstar called Lady (Teal Wicks) and as an ageless goddess and eternal fount of wisdom called Star (Stephanie J. Block).
Though it was a little confusing at first seeing and hearing them interact throughout, as opposed to one aging out of the narrative and being replaced by the next, it was ultimately an effective device — Cher as her own muses, with a big assist from Mama Georgia Holt (Emily Skinner).
The songs are beautifully sung and used in sometimes surprising ways, and no “Heart of Stone” is left unturned — they even explore Cher's backing vocals on some of Phil Spector's '60s hits. If there is a stand-out, it has to be the elaborate “Dark Lady” tango. Some of Cher's biggest solo hits of yore can take on the vibe of novelty tunes, but “Dark Lady” is made both timeless and current, and is embodied in a show-stopping performance led by dancer Ashley Blair Fitzgerald that is worth the price of admission all by itself.
Daddy, written by Jeremy O. Harris and directed by Danya Taymor, begins as if it will be a bit of theatrical confection, a trendy, goes-down-easy play along the lines of The Blue Room adapted by David Hare or Up for Grabs by David Williamson.
And with a title like Daddy, who could blame you for thinking you were about to see something self-impressed by its cheekiness?
But as the play develops, it steadily matures, even as its central character, a young, black, emerging artist named Franklin (Ronald Peet) who is shacking up in the luxury digs of a much older, one-percenter art dealer (Alan Cumming), steadily regresses into a juvenile state.
In short, there is nudity, as you've been told, but this is not Naked Boys Singing.
Mandrake (All images by Matthew Rettenmund)
I spent Friday evening with a group of mostly-naked men who were only too happy to be ogled — you know, a typical date night.
Not really, but Members Only Boylesque — which is available for future booty calls on April 5, May 31 and June 14 at 10 p.m. at the Laurie Beechman Theatre — is definitely worthy of an entry in your little black book ...