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Archive for the ‘Gay’ Category

What a season!  A superlative blend of four promising new musicals, three dynamite plays (and another really enjoyable one), and a play revival that reinvented what that play was about and another that had only excellent notices.  When it comes time to award this season, there simply aren’t enough trophies to go around.

Just a glorious season for Off-Broadway.

Oh, right, the Tony Awards are only for Broadway shows.  Yeah, that season was a letdown as a whole.  A few inspired performances and pieces, but as a composite, the NY Times’s two critics called it a B- season.  To me, its more along the lines of C+.  Barely-there books in the Musical category, Plays that sound better on paper than on stage, and revivals of a slate of classics that were generall more about competence than brilliance.

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When I go to a one-performer show, I expect a loose narrative for the performer to show off his or her talents – particularly if the show is steeped in music.  I don’t expect a fully-formed plot with character development that relies as equally on the dramatic skills of the performer as his/her well-recognized comedic and musical talents.  While Sarah Jones & Anna Deveare Smith have transcended the genre by inhabiting multiple characters to create a narrative, musical performers tend to rely on their vocal prowess to enrapture the audience.  Having seen both Bea Arthur and Elaine Stritch do this incredibly well, I was still struck by the balance of an actual plotline in Sherie Rene Scott’s Everyday Rapture.

I had seen the earlier incarnation of the show at Second Stage, and was thrilled to hear it was finally transferring to the big stage.  Strangely hosted by the Roundabout at their play revival theatre, Everyday Rapture isn’t simply a one-woman performance.  There are some other performers contributing, but Scott, with co-writer Dick Scanlon, is delivering arguably the most complete new musical of the season.

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I’ve been hiding out working, but I’m coming back with a plethora of posting over the next week.  At least I’d like to think so.

But, I’m taking a hot minute to pay tribute to my beloved icon, Pam Grier.  Today’s her birthday, and she deserves some love.  Ever the beacon of pride, soul, and screen presence, she rode her curves and attitude to huge fame (and hopefully some cash).

(Fair warning – there is serious cleavage on display.)

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The show may start with calling itself an illusion, but there’s far more depth to be found in the current revival of La Cage Aux Folles than in most shows you’ll find on the Great White Way.  While still ostensibly cartoonish and dated, this production directed of the show by Terry Johnson brings forth real heart and emotion in the best spirit of musical theatre.  By stripping down the production, Johnson eliminated some of the spectacle.  There are still plenty of sparkles, spangles, and costume changes, but never enough to weigh down the show.

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Jose wrote a lovely summary over at the Film Experience, celebrating Sarah Jessica Parker’s 45th birthday today, given that the former square peg is now a style icon.

But, she’s far from the only icon who has today as birthday.

See who joins her & hear some honorary music after the jump. (more…)

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Seeing actors play multiple characters onstage isn’t all that unique.  Frankly, its fairly par for the course these days and Xanadu had a delightful zinger about it.  However, when the doubling is used as a dramatic device, it creates a point of comparison, of assumed juxtaposition, that makes for an interesting experience.  In Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride, that experience is beyond interesting, bordering on true excellence.

Campbell has structured his performers to play the same core character across different timelines, 1958 and 2008.  And this being a gay play, the inherent cultural changes help shade the character transitions with more than just “people seeming different yet being the same” pathos that would be expected given the construct.  And as with most plays about character traits, what goes unsaid is so much more important that what is said.

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Seeing a new musical in its development cycle is something relatively new to me.  While I’ve seen things at Playwrights Horizons & Second Stage, I’ve never seen one so clearly still being worked on.  In fact, apparently during the run at the York Theatre Company, a song was dropped.

Yank! A WWII Love Story (as so printed on the ticket, so spoiler-phobes beware) is ultimately about a young man come to terms with being gay while serving in the military during World War II, and does indeed fall in love.  Given that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” hearings are ongoing and a major political plot point in the news, its not all that surprising that someone (or some people as they case in fact is) has written a musical about someone who was gay in the military.

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