THEATER: Say Hello To “The Bodyguard,” And Goodbye To “The Performers”

Nov 23, 2012

It’s the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and we’re thankful for everything theater, from untimely closings to upcoming hits.

PORN FREE

Talk about a turkey: Sunday saw the swift shuttering of the Broadway comedy The Performers, four days after its official opening on November 14.

Set during the Adult Video Awards in Las Vegas, the play held the promise (at least for gay audiences) of out hunk Cheyenne Jackson as a nearly naked porn star. How could a Broadway show so quickly get, um, discharged?

We saw The Performers and have the answer: It stunk.

It’s beyond baffling that playwright David West Read’s 90 minutes of cartoon smut made it to a stage anywhere, much less the Great White Way.  Not that everything needs to be Albee, but audiences don’t generally like paying upwards of $100 to hear juvenile sex puns, listen to Henry Winkler talk about his cock, and watch a woman urinate. Even the sight of Jackson parading around in Superman undies couldn’t save the day, despite the solid acting from him and his cast mates. Ari Graynor in particular deserves an orgy of praise for her brilliant, firecracker characterization of a manic porn star on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

When the highlight is the cast stopping the show after a giant wobbly dildo is accidentally tossed offstage, however, it’s time for a premature evacuation. 

This is only the second play Read, 27, has had produced on the New York stage. The schoolyard material, however, is only worthy of the fast forward button. Read a roundup of what critics thought at StageGrade.

 

LIZA WITH A 3

Few titles promise a gay ol’ time like We Three Lizas: A Holiday Bender. Produced by Chicago’s About Face Theater, the musical performance blends “classic Christmas tales with queer pop culture,” in a story that sees a ‘mo named Conrad Ticklebottom asking for the ultimate Christmas present: wealth, youth, and beauty.

Instead, Liza Minnelli comes knocking on his door. Sounds like a fab gift to us!

Written by AFT artistic associate Scott Bradley and Alan Schmuckler, We Three Lizas also includes a 45-minute “cocktail hour” with opening acts in Liza’s Lounge. Perhaps a drag Lorna will be among them? [Playbill]

WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE HEATHER

The insanely talented Heather Headley is apparently knocking the socks off audiences as Rachel Marron in the West End production of The Bodyguard musical.

According to a recent interview with Headley, there are definite plans to bring her to New York: “The dream is that the show has to go to Broadway, and I do feel—knock on everything—that it should. It will,” Headley says. “I feel like we’re sitting on something amazing, and I wouldn’t be here if we weren’t.”

That’s as close as anyone in the theater gets to a guarantee. In fact, maybe it could transfer to the Big Apple right now: Word is they’ve finished clearing out the set for The Performers. [Broadway.com]

MORE MIZ

Though we’ve already shown you a clip of Anne Hathaway singing “I Dreamed a Dream” from the upcoming film version of Les Miserables, you can never have too much of a good thing. As our holiday gift to you, here’s a recently released trailer of the cast singing musical theater’s ultimate fight song, “One Day More.” Give thanks!