No Big Whoop

An ailing Whoopi Goldberg leaves Charles Busch and Lypsinka to tough it out alone in an appropriately cursed staged reading of Legends!




As big-haired maid Aretha, Estridge entered next and did an admirable job, all things considered. But the role had been beefed up and tailored specifically for Goldberg by Epperson, so Aretha's streetwise sass rarely rang true. "'Child, please,' indeed," echoed Statler to Waldorf behind me. Later, a line about "what witch doctor Barbara Walters goes to to look so good" didn't land without the wide-eyed look everyone knew Goldberg would have undoubtedly shot the audience. You know the look: Kenan Thompson does it during The View parodies on Saturday Night Live.

The grandiose entrances of Busch and La Lyp were by far the highlights of the evening. As Sylvia, Busch was a radiant vision in a chartreuse pantsuit, though she soon changed into a metallic silver gown. Receiving equal fanfare and applause, Lypsinka arrived shortly thereafter as Leatrice, decked out in a formfitting purple ensemble and a stunning fur cape. "According to the program, it's a faux from Fabulous Furs," whispered Waldorf to Statler a bit louder than necessary, just in case someone in my row was prying the lid off a can of red house paint.

As expected, one-liners between Sylvia and Leatrice flew from then on like globules of spittle at a Flavor of Love clock ceremony. Though they don't pack the same punch out of context, I scribbled a few of them down on a damp cocktail napkin I had shoved in my coat pocket.

"I'll have gin on the rocks — but don't make it too strong!"

"I'll play Harvey Fierstein's gynecologist."

"Three words that strike fear in the hearts of moviegoers: starring Kate Hudson."

Statler and Waldorf got a special thrill when a male stripper from named Boom-Boom Johnson joined the party (don't ask). Played by Dashaun Young, who currently appears in slightly more clothing as Simba in Broadway's The Lion King, Boom-Boom encouraged the ladies to do the hand dance from Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" video before putting his bare backside to the audience and positioning himself directly in front of Aretha to whip off his thong. (Insert that Whoopi look again here.)

The first act pretty much ended with Busch and Lypsinka slapping each other and smacking each other's asses with their script binders. "That's the best use they got out of those scripts so far tonight," said Statler.

Nick and I stayed in our seats during intermission lest we miss any more Muppet wit or wisdom. Sizing up celebrity scene photographer Patrick McMullan's slender young male companion, Statler asked, "Is that his new boy toy?"

"Works for me," replied Waldorf.

Tags: Theater