Because there have been no new Broadway openings since April 29, the Tony eligibility cutoff date for the 2009-10 theater season, I thought I’d spend most of my evenings in May catching up on my reading and Netflix. Well, I thought wrong. Apparently also taking advantage of the great white lull, New York’s off-Broadway scene was overflowing with quality if often short-lived offerings featuring gay themes, gay characters, and notable gay performers.
Like Tony and Tina’s Wedding married to the Jersey Shore gay porn spoof without the audience interaction and double penetration, Anthony Wilkinson’s lightweight yet lovable My Big Gay Italian Wedding is line-dancing down the aisle at St. Luke's Theatre. Because marriage equality isn’t the novelty it was when the original production premiered in 2003, the out playwright and star has spruced up the script about Brooklyn brooms and bitter exes with mixed results, but scenes with Anthony’s family — a dramatic Italian mother, a spotlight-hungry kid sis — are hilarious and heartwarming. As for bronzed star Reichen Lehmkuhl, who was filmed by Logo’s upcoming “gay housewives” show on opening night? He looks mighty fine in undies, and that’s all that really matters. Plus, a portion of ticket sales benefit Broadway Impact.
Gay theatergoers hoped that The Kid, which moved out of the Acorn Theatre May 29, might be the next Yank! or a musical comedy companion to Next Fall, but The Kid has some maturing to do before it’s a major success. Based on sex columnist Dan Savage’s memoir The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant, the show’s likable enough, but Michael Zann’s funny book, which features gay mannies and lesbian moms, is stronger than Jack Lechner and Andy Monroe’s forgettable score, which often feels dated and cheesy. Last seen on his knees as Lord Farquaad in Shrek, cuddly star Christopher Sieber told The Advocate, “It’s not a gay story.” In other words, ignore the oral sex pantomimes, the leather-clad go-go boy in the chorus, and the many references to party drugs, vibrators, and sodomy. Hey, bring the kids!