Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for October 2010
BY Brandon Voss
October 19 2010 10:10 AM ET
Until Heather Has Two Mommies or And Tango Makes Three make their way from page to stage, Freckleface Strawberry the Musical might just be the perfect children’s show for the R Family Vacations crowd. Based on Julianne Moore’s celebrated children’s books and featuring a charming cast of mostly 20-somethings, this delightful show by Gary Kupper and Rose Caiola brings to vibrant life the topical tribulations of 7-year-old tomboy Strawberry — an infectiously spirited Hayley Podschun — who gets teased by classmates for her red hair and freckles but soon learns to love herself with the help of High School Musical dance moves and catchy songs like “Different,” “I Can Be Anything,” and “Be Yourself.” Slightly subtler is sensitive Jake’s boy-crush on sporty Danny, plus bonus nods to iconic Broadway numbers and a Kidz Bop-y Lady Gaga impression.
A.R. Gurney included gay characters in works like Far East, The Old Boy, Big Bill, and, most recently, The Grand Manner. The prolific straight playwright adds a couple more to the mix in Office Hours, which runs through November 7 at the Flea Theater. Written specifically for the Bats, the Flea’s talented young acting residents, it’s a pleasing if preachy series of vignettes in which junior professors and students discuss Homer, Dante, Aeschylus, Plato, Shakespeare, and other dead white dudes in the Great Books curriculum at a liberal arts college in the ’70s. In one of the play’s strongest scenes, which all have conflicts that cleverly mirror the classic in question, a flirty gay sex-addict seeks his gay instructor’s mentorship to help him stop being a whore — you know, much in the way St. Augustine describes helping Alypius kick the Colosseum habit in Confessions.