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Singular Sensations: Best NYC Solo Shows of 2014

Singular Sensations: Best NYC Solo Shows of 2014


Our favorite LGBT-inclusive one-person wonders of the past year.


Bad With Money
Directed by Aaron Mark, out playwright-performer Ben Rimalower's one-man show about his struggle with debt is courageously honest, keenly specific, and emotionally naked -- like your fave Taylor Swift song, if Tay-Tay were a recovering alcoholic who once dabbled in prostitution to support her overspending. Don't expect solutions and wisdom, but the masterful raconteur does have darker, wince-worthier anecdotes than those in his previous solo hit, Patti Issues.
Duplex Cabaret Theatre, through February 27.


Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
Audra McDonald won a record-breaking sixth Tony as Billie Holiday in Lanie Robertson's intimate bio-play. Set in a Philly jazz joint in 1959, mere months before the legendary singer's death from substance abuse, this tragic and touching solo tribute recounts her life story through her signature songs, including "Strange Fruit." No mention here of Lady Day's widely known bisexuality, but McDonald's transformative performance, soon to be seen on HBO, was intoxicating.
Circle in the Square Theatre, closed.


Lypsinka! The Trilogy
John Epperson celebrates three decades of his legendary lip-synching alter ego with three shows running in repertory: Lypsinka! The Boxed Set, a jaw-dropping revue of his greatest bits; The Passion of the Crawford, a meticulous Joan Crawford tribute featuring a reenactment of a 1973 interview; and the drag-free John Epperson: Show Trash, an autobiographical evening of insouciant story and song. Read my lips: This is the theatrical event of the holiday season.
Connelly Theater, through January 3.


Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical
No shade to his fab backup singers, but you try stealing the spotlight from Sylvester! Writer and star Anthony Wayne shone brighter than a mirror ball as the androgynous gay disco legend, who lived without apology until his AIDS-related death in 1988. By the time he turned out "(You Make Me Feel) Mighty Real," audiences were feeling it and on their feet. Look for the confessional monologue, codirected by Wayne and partner Kendrell Bowman, in San Francisco soon.
Theatre at St. Clement's, closed.


Rock Bottom
Patti LuPone and Amy Schumer are her biggest fans, which pretty much sums up Bridget Everett, a chardonnay-flavored tidal wave of powerhouse vocals and pussy jokes. Created with Matt Ray, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, and Tony-winning partners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, her audience-arousing cabaret act, which featured a cameo by gay comic Cole Escola as her aborted fetus, is a feminist paean to public indecency. You haven't lived until she's sat on your face.
Joe's Pub, closed; returns January 6 through February 20.

(RELATED: Our Top 10 LGBT-Inclusive Productions of 2014)

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Brandon Voss