Seat Filler: What's Gay Off-Broadway
The City of Conversation
Dropping by a gorgeous Georgetown townhouse in 1979, 1987, and 2008, Anthony Giardina's absorbing and provocative new drama stars the luminous Jan Maxwell as Hester, an elegant political hostess forced to choose liberal principles over family after her son marries an ambitious Reaganite. Gay rights are on Hester's agenda — she jokes that all Republicans are closeted — so it's an ironic victory when her grandson shows up with his black partner on the night of Obama's inauguration.
Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, through July 6.
Set in an Idaho trailer right before Y2K, out playwright Samuel D. Hunter's touching drama about missed connection stars a grizzled Michael Laurence as world-weary Bryan, who returns to work on a newspaper for fellow truckers and finds it overrun by personal ads from folks as lonely as he is. It's worth a long haul just to see out Spring Awakening alum Gideon Glick as Bryan's awkwardly adoring nephew, a gay teen who was kicked out of his house when caught with another boy.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, through June 21.
Forbidden Broadway: Comes Out Swinging!
Gerard Alessandrini's shameless satirical revue, a low-budget institution for more than 30 years, pulls no punches in its latest edition. It's all in good bitchy fun as an exceptional cast of four comic chameleons skewers targets like Harvey Fierstein, Alan Cumming, and a bedraggled Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Even Rocky would be knocked out cold by "Let It Blow," a jab at Idina Menzel's vocal cord-shredding Frozen hit: "My nodes never bothered me anyway."
Davenport Theatre, open-ended.
Here Lies Love
An immersive dance club setting literally gets the audience on its feet for David Byrne and Fatboy Slim's exuberant musical about the remarkable rise and fall of Filipino leaders Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos, played with dazzling command and desperation by the exquisite Ruthie Ann Miles and out actor Jose Llana. Sorry, there's no mention of the Steel Butterfly's infamous shoe collection, but we do witness her passion for disco and cutting footloose with the fabulous freaks at Studio 54.
Public Theater, open-ended.
Too Much Sun
Reuniting with out playwright Nicky Silver after a superior collaboration on The Lyons, Linda Lavin shines with a sharp tongue as Audrey, a disillusioned theater grande dame who backs out of a bad production of Medea and crashes her estranged daughter's beach house. It's a pleasantly unpleasant dramedy brightened by a romantic subplot involving Ken Barnett as Audrey's son-in-law and Matt Dickson as a pot-dealing gay neighbor. Suffice it to say they were never the same after that summer.
Vineyard Theatre, through June 22.
Read last month's theater picks here.