Monday, June 21, 2010

Perry Brass: My Big Gay Italian Wedding at St Luke’s Theater

 Classically handsome Reichen Lehmkuhl.
from My Big Gay Italian Wedding

Last Thursday I went to see My Big Gay Italian Wedding  at St Luke’s Theater on West 46th Street. It’s a big show—14 people in the cast—and there are moments when it's bust-out funny, as in hysterical, belly-rolling, cannoli-crunching laughter. The humor is broad, so broad at times that it sags, but it keeps a sweet endearing quality to it, which is what any decent wedding should be about, unless of course it’s one of the more ill-fated nuptials from “Sex and the City.”

A neat combo of “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding” with some “La Cage au Folle” thrown in (one of the gay couple’s best guys goes in over-the-top drag, pinch-hitting as the too-tight-assed-to-attend mama of a groom, and of course ends up with her big wig off), despite making the word “stereotype” look . . . well, stereotypic, “My Big Gay Italian Wedding” has got some good things going for it.

Number one is Reichen Lehmkuhl, who even with an unpronounceable name is so classically handsome that he looks like he should be on a Greek coin. Despite the fact that Mr. Lehmkuhl does not burn up any boards with his acting ability, my only qualm was that there was no gratuitous nudity with him involved. It also has some funny people like Joe Scannio and Randi Kaplan who play the doting Italian Dad and drama-queen Mom of Ant’ny Pinnunziato (a real Anthony: Anthony Wilkinson) who’s going to marry Andrew Polinski (a Polish-Puerto Rican hunk, or something of that extraction) played by Mr. Lehmkuhl; Adam Zelasko as Mario, a queen with iced Grey Goose in his veins who delivers some of the best lines (and does drag); and a very shrill Brett Douglas as the diva-narcissist Wedding Planner of all time.

What I loved about this particular outing of the gay marriage theme (beloved now on TV, screen, and stage) is that it has a kind of baroque magnificence to it. I mean, really, Shakespeare would have been right at home with a plot that includes characters named Gregorio, Maurizio, Toniann, Mario, and, of course, Anthony. And there are all those moments when comely guys, who should have been wearing tights, get together and plot, cruise, and hit on each other, whether they do it in old Verona or more recently in Little Italy.

Now I’m just waiting for “My Big Gay Hassidic Wedding.” 

Oy! That’s gonna be a good kick in the kishkas and twice as much fun as a barrel full of knishes.

You can learn more about Perry Brass at his website, . You can order his new book The Manly Art of Seduction from Amazon in regular paper format or on Kindle. You can also learn more about his books at SmashWords, the complete Internet marketplace for all things EBooks and otherwise, and on his Author Page at Amazon. The Manly Art of Seduction was recently named a gold-medal winner of an IPPY Award for 2010, from Independent Publisher. It was also a finalist for a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award. He will be signing copies of The Manly Art of Seduction at Harlem Pride on Saturday, June 26, the day before Gay Pride Sunday in New York. For more information, please go to . You can reach him at .

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