By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Did all of this wipe away memories of the year when a brazen contestant pulled a feminist tract out of her vagina? Maybe not, but Murray was so sure this year was going to be high-quality that he didn't even wear Spanx—and he was so right.
Riding on the Freeway of Love
Of course it wasn't all gender pioneering and saucy talk this week. There was a high-toned side, as, summoning all the conviction of James Franco drinking his own pee in 127 Hours, I attended some serious, legit theater and even bought the mugs.
Well, not that serious. The big-name revival of Driving Miss Daisy turns out to basically be a comedy, the audience screaming with laughter over the battle of wills between a rich Jewish lady and her black chauffeur. (For some of the more potent emotional moments, maybe check out the movie instead.) James Earl Jones is indelible, and, fortunately, the car isn't done in a glitzy, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang style, the vehicle flying over the audience as ethnic and class issues are worked out. It's basically an open-air bench that moves when it's supposed to, and that's just fine, thank you. It's just bad luck that this play came back at the same time as a way fiercer ode to civil liberties, Angels in America.
A speeding vehicle, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is a parade of anti-amorality cleverness, on a set that's like a Wild West version of a Williamsburg rock club. Most of it works zingily well, though there are two weak jokes directly alluding to current events. (One is a crack about teabagging and the other references Christine O'Donnell's dabbling in witchcraft). They come off too winky and take you out of the show's surreal smarts, which were already current enough. In any case, the tourists will be dumbfounded by this musical from beginning to end, which is the highest recommendation I can imagine.
I ended the week, of course, at a piano bar, where a biologically male showtune addict went around asking, "Were you at the reading of the musical about Japanese-Americans put in internment camps, starring Lea Salonga and George Takei?" Damn. I was busy at the workshop for the Donna Murphy musical about victims and survivors of the Holocaust! Hey, girl, hey.