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

Five Shows Worth Braving the Great White Way for This Season

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

Five Shows Worth Braving the Great White Way for This Season

Article excerpt

THE RITZ (by Terrence NcNally; previews from September 14; runs October 11 through December 2 at Studio 54, New York)

Nearly naked guys in the corridors at Studio 54--shocking! The legendary nightclub-turned-Broadway theater hosts a revival of Terrence McNally's riotous door-slamming farce set in a Manhattan gay bathhouse. Evoking the carefree atmosphere of the Continental Baths--where Bette Midler earned her nickname "Bathhouse Betty"--The Ritz was McNally's first major hit, running for a year on Broadway after opening in 1975. In this production Rosie Perez plays a wannabe chanteuse and Kevin Chamberlin a man on the run from his gangster brother-in-law. The creative team includes a handful of Tony award-winners, including director Joe Mantello, costume designer William Ivey Long, and set designer Scott Pask. "The Ritz bathhouse is going to be a multitiered coliseum of lurid color, light, and pulsing 70s music," Pask reports. "We are having a blast."

A CATERED AFFAIR (music and lyrics by John Bucchino; book by Harvey Fierstein; previews from September 20; runs September 30 through October 28 at the OId Globe Theatre, San Diego; opens on Broadway in spring 2008)

In this new Broadway-bound musical set in the Bronx, N.Y., in 1953, Faith Prince and Tom Wopat plan a lavishly catered wedding for their reluctant daughter. Directed by John Doyle, who won a Tony for his recent Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd, the show is based on a 1956 MGM drama starring Bette Davis and Debbie Reynolds. Harvey Fierstein--a.k.a. Edna Turnblad in the Broadway musical incarnation of Hairspray--adapted Gore Vidal's screenplay, giving himself the part of the bride's uncle, played in the film by Barry Fitzgerald. "When I was considering making the uncle character gay, I thought, Well, [Paddy] Chayefsky is the man who gave us The Latent Heterosexual," explains Fierstein, referring to the veteran dramatist who penned the original version of A Catered Affair for TV and The Latent Hetero sexual for the stage. "Turning Barry Fitzgerald into Harvey Fierstein raises latency to stellar heights."

THE BEEBO BRINKER CHRONICLES (by Kate Moira Ryan and Linda S. Chapman; previews from September 27; runs October 1-20 at the 4th Street Theatre, New York)

Two writers known for their own queer-themed work Linda S. Chapman (Gertrude and Alice) and Kate Moira Ryan (25 Questions for a Jewish Mother), have turned to the golden age of lesbian pulp fiction to bring new life to novelist Ann Bannon's well-loved heroines, Laura and Beebo, and their daring sex-in-the-city exploits in New York's Greenwich Village of the 1950s and '60s. …

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