Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for October 2011
BY Brandon Voss
October 12 2011 8:17 PM ET
The death of a patriarch propels this swift, satisfying dysfunctional family comedy about human connection by gay playwright Nicky Silver. Armed with priceless reactions and line readings, Linda Lavin milks every possible laugh from Rita, an unappreciated mother of two emotionally damaged grown children. Michael Esper, who recently played a gay escort in iHo, is a standout as Rita’s gay son, a loner obsessed with his hunky neighbor.
Vineyard Theatre, through November 11.
Motherhood Out Loud
More than a dozen playwrights contribute 19 parental monologues and sketches for this amusing albeit largely familiar Primary Stages production. In out sitcom writer Marco Pennette’s snappy “If We’re Using a Surrogate, How Come I’m the One with Morning Sickness,” Trevor Project cofounder James Lecesne plays a distressed gay dad-to-be. In Michelle Lowe’s moving “Queen Esther,” Randy Graff supports her cross-dressing son.
59E59 Theaters, through October 29.
Raft of the Medusa
Named for the 1819 Théodore Géricault painting of shipwreck survivors clinging to a raft, Joe Pintauro's provocative 1991 play gets an intense if uneven revival — newly revised by the playwright — as part of Barefoot Theatre Company’s STRIPP3D Festival. Peering in on a support group for people with AIDS, it may just be the most hopeless and heavy-handed of AIDS-themed dramas, but it’s essential viewing for fans of the genre.
Cherry Lane Theatre, through October 22.