Last night was my big performance in Project Shaw’s all-critics reading of Androcles and the Lion at the Players Club, performed after one rehearsal.
Instantly, I could tell why they cast me as the king of the jungle–they needed someone with sharp claws!
And I thought I did pretty well in a Bert Lahr-y way, playing up the gay angle in this tale of two male oddballs who bond, as thousands end up cheering.
I got lots of laughs and seemed to entertain the audience, which by the way was studded with names like Marian Seldes and Paulina Porizkhova.
But admittedly I got a little hammy, loving the spotlight more than is probably healthy, and at the end of Act One, I even snapped my fingers anachronistically and paraded off the stage like a drama queen (to applause, mind you).
During intermission, other cast members said “You killed,” “You earned your laughs,” and “Your first scene with Androcles (Michael Schulman) was really sweet.”
But Post columnist Michael Riedel rolled his eyes and said, “What you did was really subtle!” while the director warned, “I’m going to have to get the Shaw paddle and spank you for misbehaving.”
Ouch. I went out there for Act Two anyway and got more big laughs via hammy antics.
Afterwards, renowned actor Michael Cumptsy gave me a toy lion he won in a raffle that night and said, “You were superb.”
Riedel was unconvinced, barking at me, “Hack! Hack!”
Reporter Wayman Wong introduced some sanity to the proceedings, saying, “I can’t wait for Julie Taymor‘s version–Androcles and the Lion King.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 25, 2011