Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for September 2009

The Advocate’s queen on the New York theater scene alien-probes the 13th annual Fringe Festival to find America’s top bottoms, naughtiest neighbors, and gayest presidents ever.

BY Brandon Voss

September 21 2009 12:15 PM ET

1 pixel theater | ADVOCATE.COMEfrain Schunior has creator, director, and producer credit here, but it’s his cast’s ad-lib skills that make this show tops. Every stereotype and shade of West Coast pillow-biter is hilariously represented, including a bedazzled Mariah Carey fanatic named Glitter, but I voted for Vance Pine’s Harajuku Sulu, a gaysian who wears a Star Trek T-shirt to honor his heritage. Too bad the SilverDaddies.com crowd at my early afternoon performance crowned the cuter Christopher Grant Pearson’s ultra-stylish “Dimples.”

Now doesn’t Abraham Lincoln's Big, Gay Dance Party sound like it would be equally hilarious? Well, it was very popular at the HERE Arts Center, but it wasn’t anything to celebrate.ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S BIG, GAY DANCE PARTY X560 (ZABRINA TIPTON) | ADVOCATE.COM

Fully intact from a recent San Francisco run, Aaron Loeb’s misleadingly titled political comedy covers the fallout after a teacher in Honest Abe's Illinois hometown is put on trial for suggesting to her students that Lincoln might’ve been gay. As if it weren’t bad enough that we have to see the same tedious events unfold through the eyes of the prosecutor, the defense attorney, and a gay New York Times reporter, the audience is asked to vote on the order in which they view the three separate acts in a totally unnecessary time-chewing gimmick.

To be fair, the whole cast does briefly dance around wearing long beards and top hats between acts, but the show only gels when it drops the forced fluffiness and takes itself seriously. The trial threatens to expose the teacher’s lesbian relationship, and drama escalates when the prosecutor’s closeted gay son blames his gay bashing on a mob of liberal protesters. A scene in which the son opens up to the flirty reporter in a cornfield is especially moving, but two and a half hours with two intermissions? I probably wouldn’t last two hours at an actual gay dance party! However, the show won one of only three FringeNYC Outstanding Play awards, so what do I know?

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