By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
To add to the anything-goes feel, the cast bounces out for group tapdances at odd moments, but then it's back to the hat-tossing and awkward dialogue. Fortunately, the triple-jointed gravity defiers and shameless clowns are fun company, and Banana Shpeel ends up being the Addams Family of circus shows. Its most subversive achievement might be that, out of the colorful mess created by its original ambitions, it manages to be bizarrely enjoyable at times.
Shows with throughlines were honored at the Drama Desk Awards, my personal throughline being straight to the food at the after-party. There, I heard that the high point of the awards was presenter Martha Plimpton gushing that backstage, my old friend from a previous paragraph, Mitzi Gaynor, said she liked her shoes. ("Who needs drugs?" added Plimpton.) That became the running gag of the night, leading up to Jim Brochu gushing, "Mitzi Gaynor told me to go fuck myself!"
And finally, Courtney Love doesn't need drugs when she can get off just by venting about a theater camp. In Mickey Rapkin's book Theater Geek, about Stagedoor Manor, where future stars and basket cases are created, Courtney remembers the time she went to see Frances Bean Cobain appear in Leader of the Pack there four years ago. "They gave my daughter a shit part," fumes Courtney. "She was in, like, some tertiary chorus line. It really pissed me off. The girls at camp called her horrible names. I had to have Drew Barrymore—her godmother—call her at camp. I asked her to have them say over the PA system, 'Frances, you have a phone call from Drew Barrymore,' so the kids would stop making fun of her.
"But it was a character-building experience," adds Courtney. In fact, Frances couldn't wait to go back the next year! And now she's an unwitting part of a tabloid circus and a living reality show. Bring on the awards.