Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for May 2010
BY Brandon Voss
May 04 2010 1:00 PM ET
Sometimes big things do come in small packages like The Irish Curse, a perfectly pleasant little pecker of a play about a church basement support group for men with tiny penises — we’re talking bottle caps and cocktail wieners here — a problem that apparently plagues those of Irish heritage. Best known as Bulldog from Frasier, out actor Dan Butler channels Leslie Jordan as an effeminate Savannah man who’s been abandoned by his family, and handsome soap star Austin Peck also shines as a studly gay cop who says things like “a fag with a puny prick is like a bull with tits” and avoids shame by giving without receiving, orally speaking. This profane but surprisingly profound comedy by Martin Casella, a playwriting teacher at the Harvey Milk High School, zips up May 30 at the SoHo Playhouse. Did I mention that I’m German?
Sure, he owned slaves and decimated the Native-American population, but if Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is to be believed, our nation’s seventh president, a man of the people, was a pretty cool dude. If SNL and Spring Awakening overthrew the History Channel, you might get Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman’s high-voltage emo musical, which runs until May 30 at the Public Theater with catchy songs like “Populism Yea Yea” and a wheelchair-bound lesbian narrator. Benjamin Walker, Meryl Streep’s future son-in-law, simply rules as Jackson, a charismatic but pouty cutter. At home among the clever anachronisms and inaccuracies, Jackson’s associates — especially gay UCB regular Jeff Hiller as John Quincy Adams and The Ritz’s Lucas Near-Verbrugghe as Martin Van Buren — are comically effeminate, which is so random that it works without being offensive.