Seat Filler: ’s Guide to Theater
BY Brandon Voss
June 07 2010 12:15 PM ET
I’m a big fan of drag diva Jackie Beat’s solo holiday shows, but I had no idea she was such a talented playwright and comedic actress — no, seriously! In Whatever Happened to Busty Jane? which ended its four-evening stint May 19 at the Laurie Beechman Theater after a run in Los Angeles, Beat blew me away as the Bette to Dirty Sanchez bandmate Mario Diaz’s Joan in a spoof of 1962 classic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? that’s as gross as it is gut-busting. Directed by Planet Unicorn’s Drew Droege and costarring Sam Pancake, Margaret Cho posse member Selene Luna, and YouTube sensation Nadya Ginsburg, this black-lacquer-and-Nagel-print nightmare pits washed-up buxom porn star Busty Jane against brother Branch Hardon, a power bottom now wheelchair-bound — “butcha are, Branch!” — from AIDS. Tasteful? No. Tasty? Yes!
Two months after the original tribe was replaced so that the company could reprise their roles in London, select critics were invited back to check out all the shiny new dos in Hair at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. The Tony-winning revival of the 1967 “American tribal love-rock musical,” which celebrated its one-year anniversary March 31, benefits from a fresh wide-eyed energy thanks to younger bohemians. American Idol finalists Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo, who bring a hot body and a big belt, star as Berger and Sheila. Electric cutie Kyle Riabko, who replaced Jonathan Groff in Spring Awakening, has taken over for Gavin Creel as Claude, who’s “hung up on a cross over Sheila and Berger.” The whole pansexual vibe feels a touch more family-friendly, but Jason Wooten wows as Woof, the show’s most overtly queer comic relief.
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