Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for December 2009
BY Brandon Voss
December 16 2009 9:10 AM ET
An ambitious understudy also vies for attention in So Help Me God! an All About Eve-y play now vamping at the Lucille Lortel Theatre through December 20. Penned by Maurine Dallas Watkins, who most famously authored the 1926 play on which the musical Chicago is based, So Help Me God! was derailed from its scheduled 1929 Broadway debut by the stock market crash and never published. The Mint Theater Company, which specializes in reviving lost treasures from yesteryear, has given this long-forgotten treasure the blessing of star Kristen Johnston, who is simply marvelous as demanding, mirror-smooching stage diva Lily Darnley. My Girl’s Anna Chlumsky also impresses as a naive ingenue threatening to steal Lily’s spotlight. Spotted at opening night: Andy Cohen and Ugly Betty duo Michael Urie and Becki Newton.
Over the third weekend in November, Becki Newton and husband Chris Diamantopoulos, the tight-bodied little stud who played Debra Messing’s gay confidant in The Starter Wife, showed off their fine singing skills as the romantic leads in the City Center Encores! concert production of Girl Crazy. Also starring SNL alum Ana Gasteyer in the part that made Ethel Merman famous, the silly 1930 Gershwin musical (which was refashioned into 1992’s Crazy for You) basically uses a thin plot about New Yorkers on a Wild West dude ranch as an excuse to showcase lovely songs like “I Got Rhythm” and “Embraceable You.” But this shamelessly old-fashioned musical also has a song called “Bronco Busters,” which features the lyric “On Western prairies we shoot the fairies,” and a ditty called “The Gay Caballero” that isn’t nearly as hot as you’d hope.