The cast of Naked Boys Singing!
Readers, I come bearing some news that may shock and, in some cases, horrify you: Naked Boys Singing! is still a-swingin' for gay tourists and clueless bachelorette parties off-Broadway. Now sharing a space with the long-running Altar Boyz at New World Stages with just two performances per weekend, NBS! just celebrated its 10th anniversary July 25. No big horns were blown to commemorate the occasion besides the launch of a new website; in fact, one cast member I shamelessly stalked on Fire Island the following week said he wasn't aware of the milestone at all.
Still, having seen the show twice before with two completely different casts, I'm titillated to report that the current crop of trou-droppers is the most attractive and anatomically blessed in years. A warning, though, for fans of diversity: There are no black performers or foreskins on display. And "Window to Window," the token dramatic number about mutual peeping-tommery, is just as painful as ever.
Ron Cephus Jones and Jake O'Connor in Wildflower
If, like me, you can scarcely remember happiness before MTV's The Hills, you already know that Crested Butte, Colo., is the hometown of Mrs. Heidi Montag Pratt. It's also the deceptively serene setting for Lila Rose Kaplan's Wildflower, a honeysuckle-sweet one-act that's grown on me since ending its brief run at Second Stage Uptown August 8.
In an attempt to escape the past, a woman comes to the small town with her awkward son Randolph, who appears to suffer from a mild form of autism like Asperger's syndrome. The teen befriends fellow outsider Mitchell, a much older black innkeeper and ex-drag queen who distracts himself from cancer by pulling out his old feather boas. Pursued by a local girl desperate to lose her virginity, Randolph attempts to learn the art of seduction from Mitchell, who thankfully rebuffs the confused kid's cringe-worthy advances. But anyone familiar with the literary foreshadowing technique of Chekhov's gun would sense the play's true impending tragedy the moment Randolph begins nurturing an extremely poisonous plant.