Seat Filler: The Advocate's Guide to the 2011-12 Broadway Season

The 2011-2012 Broadway season has officially ended, the Tony nominations have been announced, and our man on the New York theater scene has now seen every show. Here’s a look at his quick and queer-skewed impressions of the busy season’s complete offerings — thriving and shuttered, honored and snubbed.

BY Brandon Voss

May 09 2012 8:37 AM ET

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Man

In Michael Wilson’s brisk, pertinent revival of gay elder statesman Gore Vidal’s 1960 play, Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack and Night Court’s John Larroquette lead a star-studded cast as mud-slinging presidential candidates fighting for their party's nomination. The skeleton in McCormack’s character’s closet is that he may have a homosexual past, as verified by a jumpy Jefferson Mays (I Am My Own Wife) as an old Army subordinate.

Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, through September 9.

BONNIE AND CLYDE X400 | ADVOCATE.COM

Bonnie & Clyde

Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan sparkle and smolder as Depression-era outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in a paint-by-numbers musical that also stars hunky out actor Claybourne Elder as Clyde’s brother. The show ultimately whimpers despite lots of fake-bloody bangs — Clyde bludgeons a fellow prisoner who made him his bitch — and a rockabilly- and blues-influenced score that’s Frank Wildhorn’s best since Jekyll & Hyde.

Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, closed December 30.

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Chinglish

In this intelligent, crowd-pleasing comedy by M. Butterfly’s David Henry Hwang — deftly helmed by out director Leigh Silverman — an American businessman who makes English-language signage encounters both culture shock and unexpected romance in China. Much of the play’s dialogue is in Mandarin, but the use of well-timed supertitles sparks much laughter at the expense of awkward mistranslations by clueless interpreters.

Longacre Theatre, closed January 29.

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Clybourne Park

Inspired by Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Bruce Norris’s accessibly insightful, surprisingly funny Pulitzer Prize-winning play about gentrification imagines the flawed white families who may have preceded and followed the Youngers of the 1959 masterpiece. A minor character played by ginger Brendan Griffin is revealed to be gay in the second act, but mainly for the sake of his showing offense to a joke about prison rape.

Walter Kerr Theatre, through August 12.

THE COLUMNIST X400 | ADVOCATE.COM

The Columnist

Set in the ’50s and ’60s, David Auburn's staid but informative docudrama stars a reliably sharp and snooty John Lithgow as Joseph Alsop, the influential Washington newspaper columnist who kept the Kennedys close and his homosexuality a secret. The play’s opening scene finds a vulnerable Alsop post-coital in a Moscow hotel with Brian J. Smith as a Russian hunk — a KGB blackmail scheme that hangs over the rest of Alsop’s career.

Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, through July 8.

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Death of a Salesman

Resurrecting the aural and scenic design of the original 1949 production for his powerful no-frills revival of Arthur Miller’s definitive domestic tragedy, Mike Nichols shepherds the heartbreaking Philip Seymour Hoffman and a subtle Linda Emond as self-destructing Willy Loman and his suffering wife. In an ace Broadway debut, Andrew Garfield brings Social Network smarts and Spider-Man brawn to Biff, the family’s tarnished golden boy.

Ethel Barrymore Theatre, closed June 2.

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Don’t Dress for Dinner

When it really gets cooking, Roundabout Theater Company’s beige, lackluster revival of Marc Camoletti’s creaky sex farce about horny philanderers can serve up some delicious entertainment. Unfortunately, a vibrant 2008 revival of Camoletti’s Boeing-Boeing stole Dinner’s thunder, but Urinetown’s Spencer Kayden and Bound’s Jennifer Tilly are ladling out big laughs as a plain chef and a glamorous model forced to switch identities.

American Airlines Theatre, through June 17.

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