Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

Posted by Mondschein

"Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, March 27, 2011

Rajiv Joseph is having a terrific season in New York.  His Gruesome Playground Injuries recently ended an Off-Broadway run at 2nd Stage.  Now Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo gets a production on Broadway starring no less than Robin Williams.   Mr. Joseph's effort here is better, in this story of a tiger killed by a US Marine in the Baghdad Zoo during the occupation in 2003.  Bengal Tiger... offers a stronger premise and better construction as the existential Tiger (Mr. Williams) shares a cat's-eye view of the absurdities of war and God. Even with the improved structure, Mr. Joseph maintains his penchant for the bloody and violent.

Spoiler alert

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Invisible Kinky

by Ivan Vargas

On this glorious day of, uh... Spring (well, let's call it that---the layers of clothes told a different story) I decided to hit the City and enjoy its sights. Everything was on time: the PATH was handed to me in a silver platter, and I was glowing all the way to Borders Bookstore on 34th and 7th where I was about to meet a date for an afternoon coffee. And then two things happened. The first was the discovery of what I thought was a long-lost dinosaur under a red awning that announced itself under the unglamorous name "Peep Show". The second, was that my stomach grumbled, almost in a reaction of negative emotion, a gut feeling if you will. Or maybe not. Who can tell? I've never been in one and I could swear they were eradicated with Giuliani's Giant Scrub Brush to a point where they existed in memory and Midnight Cowboy. So as I stood there, perplexed and facing an oncoming predicament, I took my iPhone out and shot this picture:

More, including the Spanish version, on next page...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Shopping at Mood

By West Village Bill

On a day off from work yesterday, I visited Mood, the fabric store in New York's Garment District that everyone knows from Project Runway.

I like unusual prints, and it's hard to find men's shirts that aren't plaid, solid, or striped. And I was inspired by that show—and a guy I used to work with who made his own funky-print shirts—to "someday" give shirtmaking a whirl. My sweetie remembered me mentioning that eventual goal, and so he gave me a beginner's sewing machine for Christmas.

I've got a lot to learn about sewing because I haven't touched a machine since eighth-grade Home Ec class. I bought a book that appears to be the only English-language one on shirtmaking. And I went to Mood today to get some tools, such as fabric shears, the book said I would need to get started. And also some printed cotton fabric that will eventually become a shirt and some plain, cheap muslin to practice on.

Monday, March 28, 2011

How To....Succeeds

Posted by David

Resisting any and all temptation to invoke metaphors that involve magic or sorcery, I will simply say that the new revival of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying starring Daniel Radcliffe (of Harry Potter fame, for those who live under a rock), is pure, blissful entertainment from start to finish.

Radcliffe, who made his Broadway debut in Equus in 2008, is back on the boards again. Although this time, instead of playing a terribly disturbed young man in a mental institution, he now plays a terribly ambitious man in a corporate institution.  And he sings!  And dances!  He is joined by veteran television actor John Larroquette and a cast brimming with talent and enthusiasm in a candy-colored production that nearly blows the roof off the Al Hirschfeld Theater on 46th Street.

Newest Member of the QNY Family - Ivanhoe Vargas

"I'd always wondered where was it that all these people who blog under an umbrella blog had met and come together (or where could I meet them) and for the longest time I'd toyed with the idea of contacting QNY, but I'm a little shy sometimes."

That's what Ivan said after getting word that the QNY family had voted him into its ranks. Please welcome our new contributor, a 40 year-old native New Yorker turned Jersey boy Libertarian gym rat with a blog who spends most of his time in Manhattan. What's not to love?

(PS: Do you write about New York City from a queer perspective? Think your voice would be a good addition to QNY? Don't be shy. Apply.)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

Post by Mondschein

"Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes" presented by  Signature Theatre Company at the Peter Norton Space, March 17 and 22, 2011

This revival, which opened last fall, was the hard-to-get ticket and I can see why.  The cast has evolved a bit, some changes more successful than others, but in the end, this production confirms the strength of Tony Kushner's writing about the height of the AIDS crisis.

If you're not familiar with the plot, there's an adequate summary here.

Director Michael Greif and Signature Theatre Company have staged a powerhouse production.  Mark Wendland's rotating sets accommodate the varying locations, give fluid transitions and are well-complemented by Wendall K. Harrington's projection design.  The special effects are particularly well done.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Book of Mormon

Posted by Mondschein

"The Book of Mormon" at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, March 7, 2011

In their first outing on Broadway, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of the Southpark TV series and movies, have teamed up with Avenue Q's  Robert Lopez.  For any of you who have seen the Southpark films, you know restraint is not a feature of their writing style.  In an interview on The Daily Show this week, they confessed that writing a musical has been a common goal for years.

Looking back over many of the Southpark episodes, plus their film, Southpark: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, the two have been traveling in this direction for years.  The TV show has demonstrated a consistent fascination with the Mormon church, even dedicating the majority of one episode to the story of Joseph Smith, so when the opportunity arose to explore their musical theatre interests, it makes perfect sense that they would connect with Mr. Lopez, whose work follows a similar path of irreverence.

Spoiler Alert

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why we must never forget Elizabeth Taylor

From Dana Miller's moving tribute:

Over the next few months as we write the 30 year history of AIDS, this is a call to honor a lady who not only cradled us in her arms; she made damn sure the world did as well. In 2000, Queen Elizabeth named her a Dame. Go forward knowing to so many of us, this Dame was truly our Queen Elizabeth.

The Most Beautiful Woman in the World

and one of the most noble is gone. I saw her on Broadway, opening night in The Little Foxes. On that night, she was the white diamond. So bright that the entire theater around her faded to invisible. Below, in Cleopatra, Hollywood managed to give her the royal entrance she deserved. Her devotion to HIV/AIDS research is beyond words of thanks.


Elizabeth Taylor died today....may she rest in peace.
('Cleopatra' star won two Academy Awards, known for AIDS work.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ghetto Klown

"Ghetto Klown" at the Lyceum Theatre, March 3, 2011

John Leguizamo returns to Broadway with another biographical show, taking us from his childhood to the present.  Much feels like a retread from previous efforts, though we get a bit more about his parents this time around, including the contentious relationship with his emotionally detached and dismissive father and his self-centered mother. 

He points an accusing finger at both to blame them for his own early, unsuccessful marriage, and again over his later troubles in his second marriage.  In his defense, he points the finger at himself as well, but there is still an overall whine in his message.

He also blows his own horn as the opportunities present themselves, including his work with Lee Strasberg at the Actor's Studio, along with his complete filmography.

Yet, there are still plenty of laughs.  Mr. Leguizamo is still quite the clown, claiming to have returned "home to Broadway" after recounting several films that haven't led to him as a Hollywood leading man.

The only thing that appears to bring him home to Broadway is the chance to pick up some cash.

Ghetto Klown is scheduled for a limited run through May 15.

Monday, March 21, 2011

We live with John Randel

This New York Times interactive will chew up your time this morning and would certainly use up all 20 of the free monthly clicks the NYT plans to give you once they convert to subscription. This is a fascinating superimposition of the modern streetscape with older maps. And be sure to use the "street openings" slider. (This article recalls the Baad Lamb's post of a year ago about an oddly angled building in Hells' Kitchen. A commenter solved that mystery.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Posted by Mondschein

"Arcadia" at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, February 28, 2011

I've got to say, after my last two exposures to the work of Tom Stoppard, I had some hesitations about seeing this revival of his 1993 Arcadia.  Its Broadway debut in 1995 included Billy Crudup, who returns in a new role this time around.  Mr. Stoppard's skill for construction is at its height here in a double tale of scholars in the same English estate separated by two centuries.  The two-thirds of Coast of Utopia and Rock 'n' Roll were overwhelming in intellectual concepts and history.  Stoppard's structure in Arcadia reveals plot points bit by bit, illuminating from one time period to the other and exposing how the foibles of human interaction distort reality.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Perry Brass: Lost Gay New York: Go See “Making the Boys”

                                                                                 Original cast picture from The Boys in the Band

Last Friday night was I lucky enough to attend a special showing at the Quad Theatre on W. 13th Street in the Village, of Making the Boys, Crayton Robey’s documentary about the creation of The Boys in the Band, Mart Crowley's famous play about a gay birthday party where almost everything hangs out. 

This was really Lost Gay New York, and a keyhole into a world I knew only too well. It’s a wonderful movie, very moving at times, a bit over-long (Robey tries to attach everything gay, cultural, New York, American, queerish, etc. to The Boys in the Band; sometimes it sticks and sometimes it just doesn’t.), but ultimately very rewarding whether you were a life-time fan of the play, or like me, someone for whom the play with its bitchiness and bitterness, held a lot of repulsion and embarrassment, because afterall, aren’t we embarrassed by the truth? And The Boys in the Band is the truth. It’s not the only truth by a long shot, but all of us—OK, I know who you are out there—have been to a party at some time in our lives that ends up with drinking too much, saying too much, and hurting others too much, and we’ve lived to tell the tale. Mart Crowley did live, and told us some things that have taken me a lifetime to understand.

Making the Boys does something that is really important, although it doesn’t always get the message right, at least by me. It sees the most important aspect of the play being that moment when Michael, the host of the party (and I hope I have this speaker right) makes what was, in 1968, a truly life-changing statement: “You are a homosexual, and nothing you do will change that. You were born a homosexual and you will die one.”

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Rover

By West Village Bill

Yesterday evening, my friend Eugene and I saw a free performance of The Rover produced by New York Classical Theatre at various locations throughout the World Financial Center. I recommend you do the same.

The cast is clearly having a lot of fun, and the good humor is infectious. Handsome M. Scott McLean, as Willmore, the title character who has a roving eye for the ladies, and April Sweeney, as Hellena, the nunnery-bound young woman who schemes to get her and her sister married off to men they love, against the wishes of their brother, also stood out in a generally good group of actors.

Another source of fun is catching the reactions of people walking through the halls of the WFC who suddenly find themselves in the middle of a play. And also catching the nonreactions of people who are just, say, trying to deliver some food and are not caring that someone is emoting on the escalator next to theirs.


"Kin" at Playwrights Horizons, March 5, 2011

Playwrights Horizons continues to bring interesting new plays to their stages.  Bathsheba Doran's new play, Kin may not be as high up the quality list as previous productions like Circle, Mirror, Transformation, but it's a respectable effort if a little unfocused.

Anna (Kristen Bush), an English poetry researcher, is heavily involved with an Irish physical trainer, Sean (Patch Darragh).  Her best friend Helena (Laura Heisler) is a struggling actress - manic, nerdy and awkward.  Anna's widowed and distant father, Adam (Cotter Smith), has had a long term, on-again-off-again affair with Kay (Kit Flanagan) who is suffering from cancer.  Add to that Sean's widowed mother, Linda (Suzanne Bertish) who remains agoraphobic in Ireland after a physical assault when Sean was a child.

Spoiler Alert

Monday, March 7, 2011

2011 Winter Party - Miami Beach

JoeMyGod and I attended the VIP reception of the Winter Party, at the invitation of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Marlee Matlin was the guest of honor.

For more photos of the Winter Party.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Broadway's Next H!t Musical: A Review

On the heels of the Academy Awards, one might ask oneself "what truly makes for a memorable awards ceremony?"  The answer is quite simply: improvisation.

By improvisation I don't mean a nimble host who can navigate past an ungainly acceptance speech or an awkward award presentation.  I am referring to the kind of improvisation where you pretty much make up the whole thing on the spot.

This challenging and rare skill is on full display at Broadway's Next H!t Musical, performing at The Triad on West 72nd Street.  Broadway's Next H!t Musical has as its subtitle "New York City's Improvised Musical," but that doesn't fully encompass the marvelous shenanigans that go on here.