Did Craig Bierko Date Charlize, Meg, or Gretchen?

Plus a helping of roasted Manilow.

The bassist and I snuggled up for Lampanelli's speech, and it turned out she did use the Q-word. She started misting up with appreciation over Manilow's cultural achievements, then said, "I'm such a queer!"

Off-Broadway, I caught up with the smash hetero romp Becky Shaw, which is strident sitcom until the second half, when it develops more interest and texture—and I loved one character's idea that "no good deed goes unpunished"!

As proof of that, a nice gesture called The Story of My Life opened last week and was effortlessly stepped on until it closed. It was the earnest story of a corpse who helps his blocked (and cockblocked) writer friend relive their relationship to music—lots of music. Every imaginable thought was set to song ("Did I do the nudging when his life careened?"), and when you added white sets, angel references, and the de rigueur gay twist, you got a well-meaning piece that was thoughtful, intelligent, and bo-ring!

But Hedda Gabler carries on, and leading lady Mary-Louise Parker got musical about that at a Rouge Tomate party for her Gotham magazine cover last week. When I asked Parker whether she'd next like to star in a musical version called Hello, Hedda, she admitted, "Michael [Cerveris] and I do that sometimes backstage to amuse ourselves." To illustrate this, Parker started singing a refrain of "Hedda, you had to have this house," and I was stunned and appalled! Because it sounded really good!

There are no production numbers in Irena's Vow, the upcoming drama starring four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh as the real-life goyishe housekeeper who saved the lives of 12 Jews. The play fits in perfectly with the current mania for finding inspiring Holocaust stories—and there won't be too much overhead, either; at a meet-and-greet last week, we were told that "three Jews in the basement represent the 12 Jews that were there." That's better than four of them doing synchronized moves. Anyway, Feldshuh gave such an impassioned speech at the event that I slipped out, rather than torture her with my usual flippant questions. I thought, "If I leave today, I'll feel like an asshole . . ."

musto@villagevoice.com

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