Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for July 2009

For the Pride edition, the Queen on the New York theater scene cruises Central Park with Anne Hathaway, crashes a Tupperware party, and even finds love in a public bathroom.

BY Brandon Voss

July 07 2009 12:00 AM ET

THEATER DARK HORSE X555 | ADVOCATE.COMLuke Miller and Darrin Wright in Dark Horse/Black Forest

On the subject of uncomfortable absurdity, performance art always makes me think of Freddie Prinze Jr.'s hacky sack solo in She's All That . Yet somehow I was drawn to Dark Horse/Black Forest , a 35-minute, two-person contemporary dance piece staged in the lobby bathroom of the hip Gershwin Hotel. A male-female pairing occupied the public john for the first part of the month, but real-life gay couple Luke Miller and Darrin Wright took over for six performances June 19-28. Though the action could be viewed on closed-circuit television in each hotel room, the bathroom itself only fit seven audience members. Due to a box office mix-up on the gay couple's opening, director-choreographer Yanira Castro literally squeezed me in as the eighth, and it's not the first Friday night I spent with one foot in a urinal.

So there we were: me, two 20-something girls, an older gay couple, a somewhat bewildered suburban straight couple, and a lady who looked like Kathy Griffin's mom, all together in a hotel bathroom. Again, not a joke. Competing for space among the installation of additional mirrors and fluorescent bulbs, the boys argued, kissed, crawled on the floor, dunked their heads in water, cleaned, kicked us out, invited us back in, ate cake, stripped to their undies, and broke a sweat with a synchronized routine presumably symbolizing make-up sex. Pretentious self-indulgence? Perhaps. But anyone who's ever shared a cramped one-bathroom apartment with a lover could relate to the claustrophobic coupling.

THEATER DISNEY DIARIES X555 | ADVOCATE.COMJonathan Whitton in The Disney Diaries

Creating messy drama on a larger scale, Pride comes early to Orlando when 135,000 gays animate Walt Disney World for Gay Days over the first weekend of June. A solo excursion to the Magical Queendom last summer inspired playwright Phil Geoffrey Bond's monologue The Disney Diaries, which the winning Jonathan Whitton performed for five shows at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Having just returned from a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth with my parents for three very straight days, Nick and I rushed to this show's opening night on June 21. Using the red T-shirts worn at Gays Days to explore the gay identity crisis at large, Bond mainly kept it light with cynical yet celebratory stories about a bear attack on the Country Bear Jamboree and an unexpected hookup with Tigger. Inspired by Bond's alcoholic adventure in Epcot, Nick and I created a drinking game where we had to take a Dumbo-sized swig of our cocktails each time Whitton removed his shirt to show off his impossibly slim torso. I think I blacked out after five.

THEATER MARY POPPINS X555 | ADVOCATE.COMCast of Mary Poppins

Adding a pinch of pride to New York stages practically every month of the year, gay social networking site TheMenEvent.com often hosts official "Boys Nights" at long-running Broadway and off-Broadway shows. I couldn't fathom Shrek getting any gayer, so I declined to let my freak flag fly at that musical's "Boys Night" on June 10. But I couldn't pass up a "gay day" for Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theater two weeks earlier, because, as The Disney Diaries taught us, there's nothing funnier than a family show force-marketed to "family." At actor-friendly eatery Angus McIndoe for the event's after-party, I eavesdropped on three skinny guys making off-color euphemistic jokes about spoonfuls of sugar and the musical's sexy chimney sweeps. And I swear I overheard the adjective "supercalifagilistic" used twice.

 

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