Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for October 2010
BY Brandon Voss
October 19 2010 10:10 AM ET
I still recall the review quote on the poster for the 1998 Broadway run of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake: “See it, or live to regret it.” Well, I didn’t see it, and I’ve always regretted it — until now. A new international tour of the out Brit’s acclaimed work, supposedly better than ever, comes to an end at New York City Center, from which it flies November 7. This bold reimagining of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, which features topless male swans and modern dance styles, ruffled some feathers when it debuted 15 years ago. Today, the story — an unhappy young prince imagines public scorn and contemplates suicide when he fantasizes about a masculine swan and its human dopplegänger — feels especially topical and poignant. I swooned for the top swan’s bitter posse, which includes a clique of sassy swan-twinks who move like they just swam out of a Beyoncé video.
Charles Busch had a rare misstep with last year’s The Third Story, but I’m happy as hell to report that the legendary drag auteur is back in the old habit with The Divine Sister at the SoHo Playhouse. Directed by frequent gay collaborator Carl Andress, Busch channels Rosalind Russell in The Trouble With Angels and His Girl Friday to play a former crime reporter turned Mother Superior of a struggling Pittsburgh convent in this glorious, deliciously convoluted spoof of wimple flicks like The Singing Nun, The Sound of Music, and even Doubt. “My dear, we are living in a time of great social change,” she says. “We must do everything in our power to stop it.” There’s also a funny bit with Jennifer Van Dyck in boy-drag as a nerdy gay student, plus a brief but bawdy lesbian flirtation between two nuns played by Falsettos’ Alison Fraser and Sex and the City’s Julie Halston.