For Email Marketing you can trust


Malcolm Gets, Jerry Dixon, Mario Cantone, Matt McGrath   Photo by Monique Carboni.

                                                           By David Schultz

Jazzy Show Biz riff on middle aged gay New Yorkers settling down, and raising children.            

Coincidence or fate has transpired to give New York theatergoer’s two separate plays that cover the identical emotional territory onstage. This variation on a theme, is much looser, and wisecrack-filled, with overtly narcissistic men stuck in a Peter Pan syndrome…they won’t grow up. Mix in a virtual cornucopia of theater lore, musical references, songs, and theatrical insider dish, and you get a drama queen’s wet dream. Playwright Mark Gerrard’s short riff on the state of gay men in the current climate is rather garrulous in nature. Which perfectly suits the larger than life characters on stage.   

The play starts as the audience is just settling in their seats and leafing through their playbills. A piano is center stage and the various members of the company casually enter and begin singing and sharing their mutual camaraderie with each other. Various classic piano bar show tunes are trotted out as they try to outwit and play off each other. One by one they exit the stage, leaving just the piano player artfully playing “Never Never Land”, from the musical Peter Pan, an apt metaphor, natch. What follows for the remaining ninety minutes is a series of sketch-like scenes that hang onto a skeletal construction. The play hinges and works successfully as a character study, with compassionate work from the talented cast, rather than a satisfying plot driven vehicle.

The main characters in descending order:  Stephen (Malcolm Gets) an uptight, but sexually driven businessman, his younger lover Steven (Matt McGrath), together for 16 years, with an adopted son…(the parallels to Dada Woof are endless). Add to the bunch another couple Matt (Mario Cantone) and Brian (Jerry Dixon) Psst: Real-life husbands offstage. Gal pal and lesbian Carrie (Ashlie Atkinson) dying of cancer valiantly, with sarcasm and wit to spare. Cute and lanky waiter Esteban (Francisco Pryor Garat) showing up frequently in various locations, and in bedrooms as well. The very sexy uber hot trainer Steve is talked about in hushed tones of awe and panting desire, but never seen. And a certain highly revered composer named Sondheim. I mean Steve…. is frequently quoted via lines from various musicals at opportune moments in the play. 

The plot hinges on a series of recently uncovered sexting messages between opposing husbands Stephen and Brian. Other half Steven has just uncovered the naughty epistolary missives from their cell phone, and in an amusing yet heartfelt scene, Steven rails and goes ballistic on his other half at a birthday dinner celebration with all the men in attendance at a midtown restaurant. The scene suddenly stops, reverses back in time, and we are privy to Steven’s innermost private thoughts. The moment is brief, but telling. None of the guests are aware of the situation at hand, but soon enough, everyone finds out.          

The remainder of the play tickles and dances over many universal themes; the fear of commitment, the pitfalls of monogamy, raising children, fear of getting older, death, show tunes and an innate love of the theater, theater lore, snatches of lyrics from musicals, Sondheim is quoted with much regularity; all are trotted out with excessive zeal. On occasion a real tender, genuine moment will surface briefly, but the main objective of playwright Gerrard is to give the audience an amusing skim on the surface of these tensely wound men afraid to really look in the mirror. The creeping specter of impending age and loosing their looks, not to mention their mojo, and sexual attractiveness to keep the gapping maw of death at bay are lightly tread upon.

The entire cast works in perfectly calibrated form. Each performer seems genuine in his predicament, and the entire work has a very improvisational feel. This no doubt, is due to director Cynthia Nixon’s skill and attention to detail. Minimal, swiftly moving set design by Allen Moyer remains unobtrusive throughout. Various living rooms, bar rooms, hospital settings, and a Fire Island finale are captured with subtle touches.

Even though this mirror image to Dada Woof seems identical in theme, the way it slowly seeps into your heart is very different…and all those snarky, insider musical asides sure make a more amusing evening out with your fellow gypsies. 


Playing at The Pershing Square Signature Center

480 West 42nd Street


Runs through January 3rd 2016