Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gay Couple Face the Question of Whether to Parent

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gay Couple Face the Question of Whether to Parent

Article excerpt

Is it progress that listening to gay couples debate whether to have children is as tiresome as eavesdropping on straight couples having that discussion?

The same-sex pair, in Chad Beguelin's "Harbor," which opened Tuesday night at Primary Stages, are Ted (Paul Anthony Stewart) and Kevin (Randy Harrison), who live in a picture-perfect house in Sag Harbor, N.Y.

Together for 10 years, they've settled into married life, with hyphenated last names and a comfortable, loving day-to-day existence.

Ted, a successful architect, cheerfully supports Kevin's income- free effort to be a novelist. The dominant figure in the relationship, Ted has a strong aversion to children - the thought of a dirty diaper in their immaculate home makes him swoon in horror.

The sweet-natured Kevin has always gone along with Ted, while holding a deep, barely acknowledged desire to be a father.

Their relationship is thrown into turmoil by the unexpected arrival of Kevin's slutty, homeless sister, Donna (Erin Cummings), and her precocious teenage daughter, Lottie (Alexis Molnar).

In blending together this unlikely foursome and attempting to create something resonant about the unexpected affinities that can develop in life, Beguelin's ambition exceeds his craftsmanship.

Heretofore known as a writer of books and lyrics for musicals ("The Wedding Singer," "Elf"), Beguelin - not given much help by director Mark Brokaw - doesn't establish a consistent tone.

The characters are sometimes cartoonish, other times soap-opera serious and, all in all, not especially believable. Ted and Kevin are often presented - with amusing affection -- as gay stereotypes (they share a keen interest in scrapbooking), although Stewart does find a certain poignancy in Ted.

It's hard to relate in any way to the sexily attractive Donna. She's a selfish, irresponsible, conniving moocher -- and those qualities are made more irritating by Cummings' in-your-face performance. …

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