By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
A preview of Broadway's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown musical gave a friend of mine a glow; he liked it and said, "Patti LuPone does a really good number, and the funny thing is, everyone runs off the stage when she sings it." And no, that's not in her contract.
There's a stage full of people in The Scottsboro Boys, and judging from the four numbers the show's liberal white creators previewed to the press last week, they're all scarily talented. Last year, it was all about tortured gays, but this season it's clearly time to dig back into the roots of racial oppression with Driving Miss Daisy, A Free Man of Color, The Mountaintop, and this show, about the nine African-Americans wrongly convicted of a heinous crime in the 1930s.
Director/choreographer Susan Stroman said she and Kander and Ebb started on the project years ago by researching famous trials in history. Unlike that songwriting duo's Chicago, this definitely will not lead to a film in which Christina Aguilera imagines herself into the opening number.
Let me lighten up for a sec and take you to Love, Loss, and What I Wore's one-year anniversary party at the Palm, where Caroline Rhea told me her baby daughter "is divine! She says cock instead of clock, but she's wonderful." Another former star of the show, Natasha Lyonne, was showing cock—or rather, scrotal sac. Lyonne flashed me her screensaver, which is a close-up of a skateboarder's balls with a goofy face drawn on it in permanent marker. Suddenly, the women of Love, Loss, and What I Wore weren't talking much about clothes at all.
And finally, I wore my Miu Miu to see Meow Meow at Joe's Pub and found that the Aussie chanteuse is a fiercely talented mix of Joan Collins, Amy Winehouse, and Mrs. Lovett. But I wish my agent had told me she makes the audience co-star with her. I got dragged up for what seemed like eight years of forming a human chaise longue with another slave for Meow Meow to sit on as she trilled a French ballad à la that superstar's daughter. Others were amusingly made to throw flowers at her, spray aerosol "atmosphere," and carry her into the upper level on command. By the time Meow Meow came back to my table and ordered me to take off her red bra, I just sat there, impervious. "He's comatose!" she announced as the crowd went wild laughing. I shall give it no more thought.