The Tony eligibility cutoff date for the 2009-2010 Broadway season was April 29 — nominations were announced May 4 and prizes will be awarded June 13 — so the last few weeks have been packed with the eleventh-hour openings of high-profile Tony hopefuls like La Cage aux Folles, The Addams Family, and Promises, Promises. Some gay favorites fared better than others, but yours truly deserves an award for seeing 20 shows, especially under the threat of car bombs in the theater district!
Despite the embarrassment of Broadway riches, one of the most entertaining evenings I had in April was at My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, Leslie Jordan’s dishy one-man marvel based on his memoir of the same name, which ends its poignant and painfully funny journey July 3 at off-Broadway’s Midtown Theater. Produced by partners Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner, the solo show invites us on Jordan’s bumpy ride from Chattanooga, where he grew up “fascinated but deeply repulsed” by celebrities like Paul Lynde, to Hollywood, where Jordan now craves that center square spotlight. Whether it’s about his Emmy win for playing Beverley Leslie on Will & Grace, substance abuse, bride doll envy, or the sake commercial — YouTube it! — he filmed with Boy George, our ribald raconteur spins a tale like he’s at a cocktail party with his best friends.
When Megan Mullally jumped ship and shuttered the Broadway revival of Terrence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart, a void was left in Roundabout’s subscriber season. Enter Everyday Rapture, a remarkable semiautobiographical and semisolo mix-tape musical by self-professed “semistar” Sherie Rene Scott, which ran off-Broadway last year and now soars through July 11 at the American Airlines Theatre. Directed by American Idiot’s Michael Mayer, Scott, who accrued many gay fans with deliciously showy stage roles in Aida and The Little Mermaid, details her “half-Mennonite” upbringing in Kansas — she calls her backup singers the Mennonettes — where she was “torn between two lovers: Jesus and Judy.” Fred Phelps and Mister Rogers feature prominently in her journey, as does her late gay cousin, Jerome, and a flaming YouTube fan.