Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Closet Follies

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Closet Follies

Article excerpt

The Little Dog Laughed * Written by Douglas Carter Beane * Directed by Scott Ellis * Starring Julie White, Neal Huff, Johnny Galecki, and Zoe Lister-Jones * Second Stage Theater, New York City * Through February 26.

Douglas Carter Beane's new play, The Little Dog Laughed, about a closeted movie actor and the agent determined to prevent his coming-out, is a satire on that thinnest of paper tigers, Hollywood hypocrisy. Yet it disturbed me more than any play I've seen in New York for some time.

Diane/Julie White, doing the same hilarious-bitch-on-wheels she played on Six Feet Under) is the fire-breathing lesbian agent who sees rising star Mitchell Green (Neal Huff, miscast as "an aging pretty boy") as her ticket into the realm of movie producing. While Diane maneuvers to net him a career-making movie role as a gay man, Mitchell swerves drunkenly around a hotel room with Alex (Johnny Galecki), a rent boy who's ostensibly gay-for-pay and whose girlfriend, Ellen (Zoe ListerJones), reluctantly endures his dates with what they both call his "moneybags."

Improbably, the two guys fall in love, although--shades of Ennis and Jack--they deny they're queer. This terrifies Diane, who insists that Mitchell can only be accepted in a gay role if the public thinks he's straight. When Alex gets Ellen pregnant, Mitchell offers to pay for an abortion. But Diane, who writes the checks, holds out a Faustian bargain. If Ellen marries Mitchell, she can keep the baby and have a fabulous life; he can become a star; and Alex can walk away with a wad of hush money sufficiently large that, as Diane sweetly puts it to him, "you no longer have to go down on unattractive strangers. …

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