REVIEW: Closet Cases

August 31, 2011 8:34 pm0 comments

Now in its second year in Provincetown, Closet Cases continues to offer poignant and amusing coming-out stories that will appeal to every audience member, whether they themselves have actually come out or not. (I say that because a straight couple sitting next to me on opening night seemed to be having the best time of anyone in the room!) The format is simple: storytellers (comedians, writers, actors) are on hand to tell their own coming-out stories—the good, the bad, and the hilarious—and it’s hard to leave this show without a smile on one’s face.
Every night the performers are different, although host and producer William Mullin is consistently on hand to open the show with his own tale of his mother, an Easter Sunday, a large box of wine, and a dog named Frisbee. Don’t ask: just go and find out for yourself!
Mullin moves the show along with special trivia questions (complete with prizes!) between each act, and one audience member is interviewed by Mullin to tell his or her coming-out story—with, of course, a prize for bravery!

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The First Lady of the Second City: Andrea Martin

8:13 pm0 comments

With an earthquake rattling the nation’s capital, Hurricane Irene blowing up the coast, and crazy ass Michele Bachmann rising in the polls, it does indeed seem like “end times.”  But it’s not the end of the world, just the summer, and these “final days” are going to be hilarious with the comic genius and legend Andrea Martin making her Provincetown debut in Andrea Martin: Final Days! Everything Must Go!!
Appearing as the closing show of the summer-long Broadway at the Art House series, Martin’s show features Seth Rudetsky on piano, the man who along with Mark Cortale produced the successful run, bringing some of the biggest names of the Great White Way to Provincetown. Rudetsky and Martin met when she made her Broadway debut in 1992 in My Favorite Year, for which she won a Tony Award. 
“He’s not going to like this, but I really didn’t remember him,” says Martin, with a sly chuckle. “But a few years later when he walked in the room to rehearse for Nude, Nude Totally Nude he began to recite every line I’ve ever uttered in every show I’ve been in. He’s kind of like Rainman. I love him.”
Born in Portland, Maine, and a graduate of Boston’s Emerson College, Martin is best known for her work on the legendary Canadian television show SCTV. Fresh out of college in 1971, Martin landed a role in a touring production of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown where she played Lucy.  She fell in love with the Canadian actor who played Linus and followed him to Toronto, where this time she fell in love with the city.  As an American with a Canadian husband, and two sons with dual citizenship, Martin keeps one foot in Toronto and the other in New York.

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A Tardy Trio

August 24, 2011 2:31 pm0 comments

Several thousand years from now when archaeologists dig up the remnants of our society and based on the artifacts found seek to give it a name – like the Bronze Age or the Renaissance – they will most likely call it “The Age of Annoyance.” Cell phones, baby strollers as big as SUV’s, and a half-decaf triple soy latte will be on display in museums of the future as the tools used by the irritating tribes of loud day traders on their iPhones, mothers from suburban Connecticut who ignore their kids’ out of control behavior, and hipster douche bags. And much like the Druids or the priestesses of the Temple of Athena, history will remember Unitard as the High Priests of Comedy who commune with the gods of satire and irony providing a haven for refugees seeking safety in a world full of really annoying people.
The New York-based comedy trio features Mike Albo, Nora Burns, and David Ilku, all familiar names in the downtown Manhattan and Provincetown performance scenes, both for their individual accomplishments and group work.

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ICONS at Post Office Cabaret

August 16, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

altThe smash drag revue hit of last summer is back packing the house again with their finger-on-the-pop-culture-pulse performance, high-energy staging, and let-the-good-times-roll spirit.  In a town bursting at the seams with drag performances, Icons distinguishes itself with impeccable and dynamic choreography and dancing. It also takes the concept of a drag revue and turns it into a really, really fun party where the energy between the performers and the audience continues to build at a frenetic pace full of hoots, hollers, and laughter. In short, Icons is a very good time.
While the spirit of the show is perfect for a celebration, be it a birthday, a bachelorette party, or a wedding, Icons is exactly the kind of show fans of pop divas will love. Cast members Destiny Devine (a.k.a. Dennis Williams) and Ricky Schroeder chew the set, adding a delightful touch of camp to a very slickly produced, yet personable show.  Schroeder’s fresh-faced enthusiasm shines through with performances as such pop divas as Madonna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears. Destiny Devine returns this year with all the power and strength as a performer that made her the new star on the scene last summer, a testament to not only her stage presence, but her comedic abilities as well.  With dynamic appearances in the show as Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and a hilarious turn as Whitney Houston, Destiny Devine complements Schroeder’s playful aura with a definitive heft.  Individually, they command the stage, but as a duo they fill the room with vibrant dance moves and a joie d’vivre.

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A McNight to Remember

5:00 am0 comments

altSinger and comedian Sharon McNight is talking about being a night owl. “Once I get that second wind,” she says, “I can keep going until the cows come home!”
Not that she doesn’t like her sleep. “I just finished an intensive 10 days at Yale, I teach there in the summer at the Cabaret Conference,” she explains. “They were doing work next to our hotel—cell phones going at six in the morning, and jackhammers right after that. It made New York seem like a quiet town!”
She’s off and running at about a hundred miles a minute. I’ve called to interview her about her upcoming shows at the Vixen with Bruce Vilanch, and I haven’t asked a single question yet: she’s way ahead of me. “I know why they call it P’town,” she confides. “There’s no place to park and no place to pee!”
McNight first came to Provincetown in 1980. “Here’s what I like best about P’town,” she says, and I can picture her enumerating her list on her fingers as she speaks. “Soft-shell crab at Front Street. Cocktails at Jimmy’s Hideaway. Walking down Commercial Street looking at people. Oh, and lobster.” Immediately she remembers that she has a lobster story. “Franco, he used to be the chef at Pilgrim House, he taught me how to eat lobster. So one evening I was having dinner at the Lobster Pot and saw a woman at the next table struggling to eat hers. I decided to be a Good Samaritan, so I said to her, ‘I can help. Just put your fork in the tail and twist.’ She gave me a look with a lot of attitude, so I went back to my meal, and don’t you know that two minutes later that damned lobster tail shell comes flying right by my face!”
I think I’m in love with this woman.

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REVIEW: The Book of Merman

August 10, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

altDoor-to-door missionaries might leave you an unconvinced non-believer, but after a night at The Book of Merman, you’ll be a devoted follower of Varla Jean. 
In a hilarious nod to the Tony Award winning musical The Book of Mormon, Merman returns to the Art House stage showing why she is the drag superstar she is, by grabbing the spotlight in a devilishly clever way. Funny, quick, and smart, The Book of Merman is a must see.
The show is classic Merman. Accompanied on the piano by Tom Judson, Merman (a.k.a. Jeffery Roberson) takes the audiences on a madcap journey through the twisted genius of Varla’s mind, bouncing from enemas to classical opera to the “gerbil” urban legend to bed bugs. Merman’s comedic writing and performance talents are amazingly presented through an incredible vocal range. Picture Brunhilde meets Ann-Margret meets Gracie Allen meets Divine. From operatic arias to an Oprah-style give-a-way you won’t soon forget,  to a finale featuring Varla’s own Mormomesque magical panties, The Book of Merman is a wild ride.

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Second To No One: Mimi Imfurst

5:00 am0 comments

altMimi Imfurst and her pal Jesse Volt are sitting in Rock ‘N’ Joe coffee shop in Millburn, New Jersey, waiting to place their order, wearing sequined dresses, high-sculptured wigs, and the signature make-up of drag queens. That’s when the waiter approaches and says, “You should be ashamed of yourself. Does your father know you do this? You’re disgusting. It’s despicable what you do.”
Thankfully, the bigoted waiter is an actor and this is a produced scenario on the ABC television show What Would You Do?, which creates situations with injustices or illegal activity to see how everyday people unaware they are being filmed will react.  The majority of patrons during the experiment come to the drag queens’ defense. And when all is said and done, it’s not just a statement on attitudes of the general public towards drag queens, but also a testament to the varied career Mimi Imfurst has already had – and she hasn’t even turned 30 yet.  Her resume is about to lengthen again as she makes her Provincetown debut with Barely Living Legends at Vixen this Carnival Week.
“It’s something I’ve wanted for a really long time,” says Mimi of her upcoming Provincetown show.  “For drag queens that do more theatrical work, it’s something we all aspire to.”
Mimi’s Provincetown run is also the premier of Barely Living Legends, in which she takes on the tabloid culture of our country with impersonations of the sensationalized trials and tribulations of Casey Anthony, JonBenet Ramsey, Anna Nicole Smith, Teri Schiavo, and more.

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The Trials and Tribulations in the Sordid Life of a Southern Baptist Sissy

August 4, 2011 7:26 pm0 comments

How many times have you seen Sordid Lives?
Chances are if you loved it the first time you saw the cult classic “dark comedy about white trash,” you’ve seen it multiple times since. The film about a young gay man going home for his grandmother’s funeral in West Texas ran for 96 weeks in Palm Springs kicking off a Rocky Horror Picture Show-like phenomenon with audiences shouting lines and dressing like their favorite characters. Here in Provincetown the film opened early in June for a week’s run, but with several sold-out shows a night it screened all the way to Columbus Day Weekend. 
Written and directed by Del Shores, who the Los Angeles Times dubbed the “grand master of the Texas comedy,” Sordid Lives launched the award-winning playwright and filmmaker into the hearts and minds of fans nationwide.  And now he’s bringing his one-man show Del Shores: Sordid Confessions to Provincetown, where he tells it all: the good, the bad, and the raunchy as he kicks off his national tour.

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July 16, 2011 8:19 pm0 comments

altThere is no one like Justin Vivian Bond. With a voice like peppered honey, sex appeal that seems a product of the glory days of cabaret in Paris and Berlin, and a performance spirit that can both make you laugh and break your heart, Bond is a star for the new millennium. 
While Bond is known as a mesmerizing talent both here and abroad, the most recent news stories have focused on Bond’s identification as a trans person; more specifically that Bond’s identity does not fit into the binary gender terms used in our language and culture. As such, Bond’s full name is now Justin Vivian Bond, and rather than “he” or “she,” Bond uses the pronoun “v” and the prefix “mx” to best express the most accurate gender identity (and this article will use those pronouns).
This weekend, Bond make v’s Provincetown debut at the Crown and Anchor with the cabaret act Dendrophile, featuring songs from the album of the same name.
“A dendrophile is a person who gets an erotic charge out of nature,” says Bond via e-mail from Paris where v just performed at Les Sentiers des Halles.  “As someone who will probably never have children I like the idea that sexual energy can lead to a creative manifestation in other ways. So when I’m in nature I’m not just charged sexually but also creatively. Most of the original songs on the record were written while I was straddling a moss covered log on a mountain in Tennessee.”

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A Q & A with The Screw You Review

8:12 pm0 comments

altThe most homophobic entertainer in America is coming to P’town (No, we aren’t talking about Tracy Morgan). Bigoted entertainment legend Wayburn Sassy comes to the Cape for his Provincetown debut with his unbelievably tall, “suspiciously statuesque” girlfriend, Miss Didi Panache, in The Screw You Revue, an evening of comedy and music in the vein of Don Rickles and Lisa Lampanelli. The comedy team is the creation of real life partners Dewey Chaffee and Douglas McGeoch, who have taken the act around the country, recently making their New York City debut, as well as overseas at the Dublin Fringe Festival. Emmy Award-winning actor Leslie Jordan caught the show and said, “So funny I nearly sh*t myself and fell back in it!” The Screw You Revue is not for the over-sensitive or for those lacking a sense of humor! We had some time to chat with Wayburn and Didi as they prepared to travel to Provincetown.

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