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

Word of Mouth

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

Word of Mouth

Article excerpt

Written and performed by James Lecesne, directed by Eve Ensler (Coast Playhouse, West Hollywood, Calif.)

So you've never heard of James Lecesne? Don't worry. You will. This openly gay actor and writer is a principal talent behind some of the most significant gay theater and film projects in recent memory. He created the title character and wrote the script for the short film Trevor, the teen coming-out story that won a 1995 Academy Award. He starred in the 1996 off-Broadway hit revival of The Boys in the Band. And he's toured America with his award-winning original one-man theater shows.

Now Lecesne has hit Hollywood, where he may actually become the first openly gay actor to arrive in your living room via his own TV comedy series. Meanwhile, for those who don't care to wait, Fox Television, where Lecesne is under contract, is presenting the actor onstage in a limited-run revival of his solo show Word of Mouth. It's an evening of theater that showcases Lecesne's charm as a performer as well as his knack for creating offbeat, entertaining characters--and it also contains the material that eventually became Trevor.

The play begins by introducing Frankie, a working-class clairvoyant from Queens, N.Y. The universe is full of human voices, Frankie tells us, explaining the psychic messages he picks up from the beyond. "When something big happens to you, you get broke open," he says. "You get connected." In Word of Mouth, we experience several lives, briefly "broke open and connected," in a round-about series of stories meant to connect us in the end, not just to the stories but to a sense of our own shared humanity.

Nobody will ever do this kind of performance better than Lily Tomlin or Tracey Ullman. But if he can't surpass these masters, James Lecesne is an actor in their league. …

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