Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for October 2010
BY Brandon Voss
October 19 2010 9:10 AM ET
The world premiere of The Revival closed September 25 at the Lion Theatre, but if there is a God, it will be made into a movie soon. In this tense, staggering drama by Samuel Brett Williams, which director Michole Biancosino jump-started with a pre-show choir, Trent Dawson of As the World Turns starred as Eli, the son of a Southern Baptist preacher who returns to his Arkansas hometown to rebuild his father’s congregation. Pressured to compete with megachurches, the married pastor becomes an overnight evangelical superstar when he publicly “cleanses” a troubled young stranger named Daniel — an outstanding David Darrow — of his homosexuality. The twist? Eli and the rough-trade hothead are actually having sex! “It’s hot and cold, but good — hard to explain,” says Daniel of the look Eli gave him at the church potluck. “Kinda like makin’ meth.”
In LGBT journalist Cody Daigle’s A Home Across the Ocean, which ended a two-week run October 2 at Theatre Row’s Studio Theatre, David Stallings and Mark Emerson skillfully portrayed a young gay couple who take in a foster child, Penny, in hopes of adopting her. But instead of focusing on the sexuality of the prospective parents, Daigle refreshingly prefers to mine drama from the fact that Penny is a painfully distant 13-year-old African-American girl who still dreams about the return of her birth parents. That may sound like the very special pilot episode of an ’80s sitcom sandwiched between Webster and Diff’rent Strokes, but it’s actually a smart, thoughtful exploration of change, renewal, survival, and the true meaning of family. Its bloated running time could and should be whittled down before its next outing, but this Home is definitely where the heart is.