Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for November 2009
BY Brandon Voss
November 16 2009 2:55 PM ET
Written and performed by Daniel Jenkins and Robert Stanton, Love Child is one of those shows where the actors play, like, a million different characters each. Sometimes it’s breakneck bliss; other times it’s a muddled mess. At off-Broadway’s New World Stages through January 3, Love Child is especially confusing because some of these characters are in an off-off-Broadway troupe acting as other characters in an obscure Greek tragedy — a play within a play that allows for plenty of chatty audience members, backstage crew members, agents, etc. I can only assume that Stanton, the gay one of the pair, put the queer polish on the plot: Though straight, an actor with an openly gay dad is also up for a part in Chelsea Boys, a cable series about gay twins who’d have an incestuous relationship were it not for the fact they’re both bottoms.
Best known as advice columnist Ann Landers from 1955 until her death in 2002, Eppie Lederer wasn’t really pro-homosexuality until her last decade (twin sister Pauline “Dear Abby” Phillips was a much better friend to the gays), but you won’t sense that ignorance in The Lady With All the Answers, David Rambo’s solo bioplay running through November 29 at off-Broadway’s Cherry Lane Theatre. Played with Midwestern cordiality by Designing Women alum Judith Ivey, this Ann Landers puts off an important column about her husband’s infidelities by sharing anecdotes with us, the rapt guests she’s invited into her living room in 1975. At one point she even recalls her reassuring response to a letter she received from a gay teen: “You are not alone.” So if you could forgive Julia Child enough to enjoy Julie & Julia, you can live with this lady for a night.
Avenue Q ended its six-year run on September 13 as the 20th-longest-running show in Broadway history. Then, giving hope to future shows that can’t sustain their Broadway runs, the adult-themed Sesame Street spoof reopened at off-Broadway’s New World Stages October 21. The greater intimacy definitely helps pinpoint the puppet-packed production’s purpose (and ticket prices have reduced), so it’s the perfect time to revisit the Best Musical Tony winner, which also earned gay playwright Jeff Whitty a Tony for his clever book. Seth Rettberg, a huggable bundle of wide-eyed energy and eager charm, currently shines in the dual role of neighborhood newbie Princeton and Rod, the closeted gay Republican who should not be confused with the dude who died in Carrie Fisher’s bed — may he rest in peace.