NY Mirror

I nabbed a schnookmobile going up to that feel-good apartheid musical, Kat and the Kings, which is emotionally threadbare, but so peppy and eager to please that the cast files down the aisle to chat you up as you leave. I'm sure they'd even follow you home to sing some more South African doo-wop and/or pay off your mortgage, if you like. Instead, I followed them to the opening-night party at Tavern on the Green and— after trying to get them to explain the lyric "He may be a queero, but he's our hero" (don't ask)— I wondered why they're so darned audience-friendly. "There's always a distance, and I hate that," said Junaid Booysen, who plays the show's reformed geek. "When does the audience become part of the act?" They certainly get to do so at Kat— and Cats, for that matter— but should probably refrain from putting it on their résumés.

Finally, the eternally kittenish Madonna treats her audience to a gender-oriented interview with our own Vince Aletti in an upcoming issue of the quarterly mag Aperture. The pop icon admits to having been a part-time drag king in high school, dressing as a male and going to gay clubs. "My goal was to trick men into thinking I was a boy," she admits. (I've tried that very same ruse!) As for the preponderance of hunky real men in her videos, Maddy reveals, "I am attracted to a thug. I like that quality, but I like the other side of it too. Because all the guys who go around behaving in macho ways are really scared little girls." Funny, I always thoughtSean Penn was a scared little girl.

musto@villagevoice.com

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