By Albert Samaha
By Amanda Dingyuan
By Anna Merlan
By Anna Merlan
By Albert Samaha
By Tessa Stuart
By Anna Merlan
By Roy Edroso
In the ultra-likable Camp, the romantic stuff may be a bit too Dawson's Creekyfor once, I wanted fewer freckle-faced mating games and more insight into the characters' starry-eyed aspirationsbut the musical numbers are sardonically funny, from the white girl trying to get down on Dreamgirls to the montage of 12-year-olds belting "I'm Still Here." At the premiere at vue, writer-director Todd Graff told me, "I was into theater from day oneno, beforeday one. I was probably singing 'Someone in a Tree' in the womb." Having done workshop productions of entire musicals before I was even conceived, I naturally knew that's a song from Pacific Overtures!
From sleepaway-camp pests to actual Beatles, Graff is currently working on Tomorrow Never Knows, a movie about the Fab Four's bizarre gay manager, Brian Epstein. Graff told me he recently presented star Jude Law with the first scene: Epstein is getting fucked by a guy who appears to be John Lennon. After Epstein climaxes, the Lennon guy says, "I hope the Liverpudlian accent was OK," and Epstein replies, "Yeah, the money's on the dresser." (Hey, I figured it out. The guy was a hustler acting out a role.) "Jude loves it," said Graff, and so do Iin fact, I'd like to act it out this very weekend.
In the meantime, there's real theater, like the signed version of the Huckleberry Finn tuner, Big River, which only soundslike a sketch from Camp, or maybe some kind of Deaf Literary Jam. The elaborately thought-out production is immensely moving, with standout work by Michael McElroy and Gwen Stewart, and so much expert signing thatalong with the puppet musical Avenue Qthis has truly become the year of the hands.
While fingering Bert and Ernie, I heard that drag diva Holly Woodlawn is coming to town with a show called An Enola Gay Christmas, which I couldn't begin to explain. But stop the laughter, hold the applause, and cry me a (big) river. It seems I've been demoted from the League of American Theaters and Producers' opening-night list, which guarantees critics tickets to every Broadway show. It's strange, since I promoted shows like Hairspray and Take Me Outso incessantly that people thought I was an investor. In fact, I wrote up Broadway so relentlessly, some said, "Why are you doing this? No one cares!" But I also approached things with a critical eye, being, you know, a journalist, who's paid to dissect and analyze things. The Broadway crowd didn't go for that, so though many flacks will still accommodate me, others want me to crawl back to the half-price ticket booth and grovel with my wallet out. I'll gladly do so, being not only a martyr but (as I noted before) a true theater queen. So beware, peopleif you produce dreck, I'll still see it!
And if you put out buffetscalm down, bitchI'll be there, too. At ¡Sabor!, a Latin American food fest to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, I even took time out from the guacamole-shoveling to meet the delightfully not-plasticy Miss USA, Susie Castillo. Susie told me she subbed for Kelly Ripa on TV recently, "and I told Gelman, 'Any time she wants to have more babies, I'm just a short drive away.' " In the meantime, the woman's doing a Lifetime channel reality show, and she got some special hors d'ouevres that weren't available to mere non-titled peons. (Alas, I'd left the tiara at home.)
Meanwhile, CAKEthe popular, floating sex bashis going reality-show, too. They're currently casting for a cable pilot that "will represent a new and contemporary vision of women and sexuality." But we already have that showQueer Eye for the Straight Guy, womp-womp-womp.
By the way, I have a cute little history with Queer Eye. (The hard-luck stories keep coming.) I tried out for the "culture guy," nabbed a callback, then got a call saying, "Ignore the callback message." (That's fine; I probably need a makeover way more than I should dole any out.) The part went to Voice writer James Hannaham, who somehow got bumped after the pilot, though he's devastatingly smart and charming. ("I read a lot of the media coverage and was excited for the people making it," Hannaham now tells me, "but I'm glad that it did not suddenly become my own life, as I was mostly in it for the money and the cheap sex.")
The resulting show? Some don't like the type of gays portrayed, but as a caustic, superficial queen who's often been assigned to the back of the bus, I have no problem with that. I just don't care for the fact that so many of the guys are wisecrack-spewing Jacks from Will & Grace; their badinage (like their "taste") becomes a bit oppressive after a while. But who am I to talk, girlfriend? The show's a phenomenon, and it's so full-steam-ahead, I'm sure they'll include me as a guest star, like they suggested they would as consolationor will they renege again the way these flighty gays always do? (Oh well, I can always guest on The Black Eye for the Straight Guy with Pamela Lee or The Lifted Eye for the Straight Guy with Jocelyn Wildenstein.)