Seat Filler: Best NYC Theater of 2009
BY Brandon Voss
December 30 2009 5:55 PM ET
4. The Brother/Sister Plays
Featured in The Advocate’s 2009 “Forty Under 40” issue, Wig Out! playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney made a triumphant return with this trilogy of connected yet stand-alone plays performed in rep at the Public Theater. Part 2 included The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet, which focused on sexual identity and featured many of the same characters in a rural Louisiana town. In Brothers a man reconnected with the pal he seduced in prison. In Marcus that same man’s son explored his own “sweet” tendencies with ghetto-fab girlfriends and a sketchy down-low thug. A skilled storyteller, McCraney added spoken-word sass by making his electric ensemble voice its own stage directions.
Following last summer’s run in Central Park, Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni, and James Rado’s Tony-winning 1967 “American tribal love-rock musical” opened and continues to shine at Broadway’s Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Gavin Creel, who officially came out this year, stars as Claude, the apex of a bisexual triangle with Sheila and Berger in a tribe of Vietnam-era bohemians. “I was working really hard on developing my relationship with Berger, making sure it was authentic and came from a place that wasn't just about free love and fucking,” Creel told Advocate.com about the bromance based on Ragni and Rado. “It was about a deep, unspoken connection between these two really expressive guys.”
2. The Temperamentals
Selling out its initial engagement at the 40-seat Barrow Group Studio, gay playwright Jon Marans’s engrossing, inspiring drama about Harry Hay’s 1950 founding of the Mattachine Society schooled those who thought gay activism began with the Stonewall riots. Lesson one: “Temperamental” was code for “homosexual.” Lesson two: Michael Urie, who starred as Austrian fashion designer and conflicted Mattachine cofounder Rudi Gernreich, isn’t the one-trick pony his Ugly Betty role may suggest. With out director Jonathan Silverstein and the terrific Thomas Jay Ryan as Hay, the show reopens at off-Broadway’s New World Stages on February 28, hopefully with Tom Beckett’s memorable Vincente Minnelli.
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