NY Mirror

Even more potentially tense was the next night's dinner for Grammy-nominated country singer Lee Ann Womack("I Hope You Dance") in a back room at Cowgirl Hall of Fame. This was trèsoff the beaten path for me—there were no poppers, just deep-fried chicken and cowboy boots—though my inch quickly got less angry thanks to Lee Ann's home-cooked charm. She performed for the tiny but powerful crowd—10 critics and a photographer, basically—casting a spell on the jaded room with her lilting voice and sob-story songs. (You can't beat stuff like "I'm a little past Little Rock, but a long way from over you.") The woman's a bridge between the old-style Rebaand the new sexpot stars like Shaniaand Faith, and when I told her that, she said, "I do think I'm somewhere in between because I like fashion but I also like real rootsy country." (Gee, I prefer fashion, but then again I'm Lorraine Bracco.)

As I started to leave, Lee Ann eyed a plate of ice cream shaped like baked potatoes and said, "It's not right! I've got to try on Grammy gowns tomorrow." Well, myGrammy gown had already been picked—it's a size 16—so I sat my ass back down and indulged. It was so right.

Twenty pounds heavier, I finally caught up with the interactive disco drag Shakespeare romp The Donkey Show at El Flamingo because on Wednesdays it now features ebullient cable queen Robin Byrd as herself (which I don't think was in the original play by the Bard). At a peak in the show, Byrdie barrels out to introduce some wildlife-related "adult entertainment" sequence that redefines animal husbandry. (Yes, there's sort of donkey dick and even coke!) But the real animal in me got excited by the item in the program asking audience members to apply for roles. (Could you imagine a Playbill saying, "Do youwant to be part of Judgement at Nuremberg? Call us now!") Alas, though I'd gladly play the donkey's rear, I'm already booked as the third flesh-eating wild boar from the left in Hannibal 2. It's everything that's romantic and spiritual!

Lee Ann Womack "a little past Little Rock" at Cowgirl Hall of Fame
photo: Cary Conover
Lee Ann Womack "a little past Little Rock" at Cowgirl Hall of Fame


musto@villagevoice.com

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