By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
On Broadway, Shrek is a schizo show that's the result of highbrow Pulitzer types adapting a movie with fart jokes. What you end up with is sort of Into the Woods–meets–Spamalot, with a splash of Rent, and it turns out to be even gayer than The Little Mermaid. Lord Farquaad has flapping wrists, the donkey sports limp hooves, and the wolf is a "hot trannie mess" who joins the other fractured fairy-tale characters in a chorus of "Wave your freak flag!" Even gayer, Pinocchio was "outed by his nose" and paraphrases Queer Nation's old motto by whinnying, "I'm wood. I'm good. Get used to it." Billy Elliot would love this show.
The revival of the super-straight Pal Joey is entertainingly dark and caddish, and as one online poster said about the star, "I completely believed him as a hustler—not that if you do Broadway Bares, you are a hustler." As for the ex-star, who left after a convenient foot injury (or was it mercury poisoning?), he has to suffer the extra indignity of being profiled in the current Playbill, boasting about the "sweetness of the success" and how "to be able to do this is a true blessing." Whoopsy!
I'm going to skip the inevitable foot-injury segue and move on to the Atlantic Theater Company revival of The Cripple of Inishmaan, which brings us playwright Martin McDonagh in a cute mode, though the laughs come out of darkness as it explores the disabilities we all carry, whether visible or not. The gorgeously acted production is such a marvel that I won't throw eggs at the actors, even if they compulsively squash them on each other.
Selling salami with a face that looks like sourdough pizza, Mickey Rourke's The Wrestler character has given the actor the chance to make his weird surgery work for him for a change. Rourke's comeback performance is amazing, so the next move is extremely obvious: Meg Ryan should play a wrestler!
And Michael Phelps should keep playing a swimmer, but he shouldn't have called his book Beneath the Surface—since there aren't any crotch shots in it! A reader wrote me, "So I looked at the book, and there is not one photo of him in his Speedo—all above-waist. This is so phallic-phobic. Are these people out of their minds?" Honey, they ain't got no minds! You know how dumb men are!