Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for October 2009

The Advocate’s queen on the New York theater scene discovers killer hermaphrodites, ancient Roman himbos, and enough lesbian drama to fill a seventh season of The L Word.

BY Brandon Voss

October 15 2009 9:15 AM ET

Love, Loss and What I Wore X390 (CAROL ROSEGG) | ADVOCATE.COM

Though tailor-made for females, I also fit in Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore, an adaptation of Ilene Beckerman’s book accessorized with fashion-focused stories gathered from friends of the Ephron sisters. In what Nora calls “sort of The Vagina Monologues but without the vaginas,” a rotating cast reads personal recollections celebrating the impact clothes have on a lady’s life. Highlights include an anecdote about Madonna costumes that empower women to kiss girls and gay guys, but I was most moved by two intersecting monologues about a lesbian couple’s search for the perfect wedding dress. Through October 18, the show stars Rosie O’Donnell, Tyne Daly, The Daily Show’s Samantha Bee, But I’m a Cheerleader’s Natasha Lyonne, and stage actress Katie Finneran (who played a lesbian lawyer on Fox’s Wonderfalls). Kristin Chenoweth and Glee’s Jane Lynch are scheduled for future casts of the production, which has extended into 2010 at the Westside Theatre.

Let Me Down Easy X390 (JOAN MARCUS) | ADVOCATE.COM

Like a one-woman Laramie Project, Anna Deavere Smith has become the queen of documentary theater by spinning interviews into socially conscious solo masterpieces. Now a regular on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, Smith is perhaps best known for her Tony-nominated Twilight: Los Angeles 1992, which explored the L.A. riots following the Rodney King verdict. Let Me Down Easy (above), her riveting new work at Second Stage Theatre through November 8, is made up of 20 moving monologues about health and mortality crafted from her interviews with both male and female health care professionals, hospital patients, athletes, professors, politicos, and more, including bisexual feminist playwright-performer Eve Ensler and lesbian choreographer Elizabeth Streb, who recalls the time she set herself on fire for her girlfriend.

Still Life X390 (ROBERT J. SAFERSTEIN | ADVOCATE.COM

There’s nothing particularly gay about Still Life, which still lives on at the Lucille Lortel Theatre through November 1, except that it’s written by Alexander Dinelaris and stars Sarah Paulson; Dinelaris cowrote 2003’s musical gay fable Zanna, Don’t! and Paulson was the longtime girlfriend of Cherry Jones. I checked out the drama to see how Paulson was holding up after news broke in Us Weekly last week that the couple had amicably ended their relationship, and I’m happy to report that although her creatively stifled photographer character is a mess, the actress is in top form. As a queer bonus, Paulson’s boyfriend is played by sexy Frederick Weller, best known on the New York stage for going homosexual and homophobic in Terrence McNally’s Some Men and Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out, respectively.

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