This week’s column takes you to the opening night of The Nance, about a gay burlesque star in the ’30s and his various moral dilemmas.
And among other things, the play furthers this as the year of the Broadway stud. I wrote about this earlier, when I ran photos of various nude or semi-nude guys parading around the legit stages. From Cat to Vanya to Picnic and beyond, the season has been more stud-studded than a week at the old Gaiety. When I wrote that, Breakfast at Tiffany’s hadn’t even opened yet, the adaptation featuring the Capote character stripping for a luxurious bath that gave the audience a momentary rise. And there’s also since been Alan Cumming as a mental patient acting out Macbeth, at one point totally starkers in a bathtub.
Well, that’s already closed, but now, in The Nance, we have Johnny Orsini, completely nude as a piece of “trade” Nathan Lane’s character hooks up with, which leads to some serious loving.
At one point, Nathan’s character is shown wondering why he’s gotten involved with this guy. Then the guy appears naked and Nathan suddenly remembers.
As for Orsini, playwright Douglas Carter Beane told me, “He’s the coolest straight guy. He blew us away at the audition. When I said, ‘Why do you want to be in this?’ he said, ‘I don’t think anyone should hate themselves’.” Aw!