Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review - Songs From An Unmade Bed (Counter Productions)

Review by Byrne Harrison
Cross-posted from

Songs From An Unmade Bed, the song cycle featuring lyrics by Mark Campbell and music by a number of composers, celebrates the small, quiet moments in urban gay life - no coming out stories, no politics, no wringing of hands over the state of things today. It's just the sly smiles after a tryst, a boyfriend's charming but somewhat inept attempts to play the cello, and seeing a lover naked for the first time. Nothing profound and earth-shattering. Just normal, everyday events.

Brian Dunham takes on the songs with appropriate enthusiasm. He cuts a pleasant figure, and has a good voice, though he tends to become overly breathy on his high notes. He shows a particular gift for the show's quiet and touching numbers, and is able to create an almost palpable wistfulness during some of the songs. Some numbers which are a little more cynical in nature, or those that have a hint of anger, are not as effective, as he has a tendency to miss the wry, self-deprecating humor that should accompany them. Overall, however, he performs well and keeps the audience engaged.

The show is perfectly suited for Counter Productions' intimate studio space on Whaler's Wharf, and director Susan Grilli uses the space to maximum effect. There are a few times when she allows Dunham to wander into shadow, but this is a minor distraction. Music Director Jim Rice and Cellist Elizabeth Schultze perform well, though there are times when Dunham and Rice seem slightly out of sync. These lapses never last particularly long, but they are enough to pull one out of the moment.

Despite a few rough patches, Songs From An Unmade Bed provides a pleasant diversion for those seeking theatrical pleasures in Provincetown.

Songs From An Unmade Bed
Lyricist: Mark Campbell
Composers: Debra Barsha, Mark Bennett, Peter Foley, Jenny Giering, Peter Golub, Jake Heggie, Stephen Hoffman, Lance Horne, Gihieh Lee, Steven Lutvak, Steve Marzullo, Brendan Milburn, Chris Miller, Greg Pliska, Duncan Sheik, Kim D. Sherman, Jeffrey Stock, Joseph Thalken
Diretor: Susan Grilli
Music Director: Jim Rice
Cellist: Elizabeth Schultze

Featuring: Brian Dunham

Counter Productions Studio
Whaler's Wharf
237 Commercial Street

Closed July 27th

Review - Canned Ham (TWEED TheaterWorks, Kearns Artist Services, and David Drake Productions)

Review by Byrne Harrison
Cross-posted from

Shows featuring former porn stars seem to have become de rigueur in Provincetown during the summer season. They draw in the crowds, not because the actor is talented or the show is compelling, but because the actor is (or was) sexy, and there is a high likelihood that he will get naked at some point in the show.

In that sense, it comes as no surprise that Tom Judson makes his first appearance in Canned Ham posing on a platform, a jockstrapped Olympian made flesh. What does come as a surprise is when he picks up an accordion a few minutes later and starts belting out "Lullaby of Broadway." This is clearly not your typical porn star memoir. This one has a sense of humor... and a talented performer.

Judson tells of the long and winding road that led from musical theatre (he was in the touring companies of Cabaret and 42nd Street) to his chance meeting with director Chi Chi LaRue. It was Chi Chi's perseverance which led to the creation of "Gus Mattox," Judson's porn alter ego, and his eventual winning of the GayVN Performer of the Year Award, sort of a Best Actor Oscar for gay porn, at the inconceivable for the industry age of 45.

Unlike many of the one-man porn star shows, Canned Ham never becomes a morality tale. No descent into drug use and degradation for Judson, porn is merely another in the amazingly long and diverse line of jobs that he has had in his life. For him, porn was a lark. That seems to be how Judson approaches much of his life, with a kind of joy and wonder.

That's not to say that Canned Ham is all light and humor. Part of what led Judson on this particular path was the death of his lover from AIDS. Though it was the roughest period of his life, it led to one of his most sublime experiences on the island of Capri, one that he describes in magical detail.

As a performer, Judson is open and amusing, with an infectious, likeable grin. At times his performance lacks a certain spontaneity - that spark that makes the audience feel that they are the only ones that Judson has told these stories to - but in the long run, his personality and the stories themselves more than make up for this. He is approachable, and happy to meet his fans after the show (and, of course, to sell them merchandise - an adorable Canned Ham t-shirt). He is just as winning offstage as on.

Canned Ham is worth seeing just for the charming and multi-talented Judson. His life stories, good natured backstage bitchery (Judson's porn co-star Pierre Fitch takes a bit of a pounding, so to speak, as does Teri Hatcher), and musical talents combine for a fun evening of theatre.

Canned Ham
Written and Performed by Tom Judson
Directed by Kevin Malony
Costumes by William Ivey Long

The Art House
June 6-September 6, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review - John Thomas & Company featuring Adam Berry and Ben Griessmeyer (The Waterford Tavern)

By Byrne Harrison
Cross-posted from

It's vacation time at, and what could be more relaxing than exploring the theatre scene in Provincetown? As expected in the East Coast's most vibrant arts community, there are a myriad of plays, musicals and cabaret to experience. Reviews, of course, will follow.

In the meantime, I highly recommend that people visiting P'town on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer head to the Waterford Tavern to see Adam Berry and Ben Griessmeyer perform with pianist John Thomas during his afternoon cabaret show on Captain Lavender's Deck. This talented trio performs a nice mix of songs, concentrating on the standards. Their song list is flexible, changing depending on their mood and on which of their talented friends drop by. A recent Saturday featured some of their co-stars from Candide, in which Adam and Ben are performing under John's musical direction, and showcased a few songs from the show. Friday's performance was more traditional, featuring such standards as "Blue Skies," "Get Happy," "Summertime," "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," while working in some William Finn ("I'd Rather Be Sailing"), Alicia Keys ("If I Ain't Got You"), Jonathan Larson ("I'll Cover You"), and other current pop and Broadway artists.

Although the music is always the most important thing in a cabaret act (and frankly, Berry, Griessmeyer and Thomas have that well in hand), I'll admit that what brings me back to see Berry and Griessmeyer perform isn't just the duo's vocal abilities. The two, who are partners both personally and professionally, have such wonderful chemistry that they are a constant source of fascination. As they perform, they share glances, smiles and the occasional good natured eye-roll if something goes south. Berry's face lights up when Griessmeyer nails a particularly challenging song. Griessmeyer can be seen silently singing along with Berry at times with a big smile on his face. It's charming to see two people so happy to be performing together.

Captain Lavender's Deck is a fairly small space and the shows are well attended, so if you want to be seated during the performance, it pays to get there a little early. The Waterford Tavern features good food, strong drinks, and a charming and attractive wait-staff, so being early is never a burden.

The Waterford Inn, Cafe & Tavern
386 Commercial Street

Fridays and Saturdays, 4:30-6:30 PM.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review - Man Boobs (Three Monos Ensemble and the Fresh Fruit Festival)

Review by Byrne Harrison
Cross-posted from

Playwright J. Julian Christopher doesn't pull any punches when it comes to the issue of body image in his play Man Boobs, currently being produced as part of the 8th Annual Fresh Fruit Festival. Spence (Jeffrey Marx) has a lot going for him. He's a curator at a library, well-read and well-spoken. He has a handsome man, Marty (Robert Valin), actively pursuing him, not just for sex, but possibly for something a little deeper. But no matter what he has or is being offered, he can't see himself in a positive light. Spence is very overweight and is suffering from crippling self-esteem issues.

Where Marty sees a handsome and sensitive man, Spence sees only man boobs. He views himself as a punchline in some sort of cosmic joke and sabotages his relationships by waiting for the other shoe (imaginary though it may be) to drop.

Thrown by Marty's request that they spend the night at Spence's apartment (they've mostly had a series of semi-public trysts to this point), Spence's unease about getting physical with Marty seems to be based more on this invasion of his space, but as Marty cajoles and Spence demurs, the real issue comes to light. Spence's refusal to take off his shirt, and what happens when he finally does, brings everything to light - his self-loathing, inherent suspicion of anyone who finds him attractive, and various humiliations from his childhood.

Can he overcome this for a truly open and non-judgmental man? Well, let's not give away too much.

Christopher's play is mostly well written, though I don't think there is enough of an attempt to give each character his own voice. Considering the differences in their backgrounds, truck driving, working class Marty often sounds quite a bit like white-collar bibliophile Spence. More distinctive voices would highlight those times when their roles reverse, Marty showing his surprising depth and empathy while Spence becomes almost monosyllabic in his shame and self-hatred.

Robert Valin is terrific as the horny and jovial Marty. He is especially effective during his heartbreaking attempts to break through Spence's reserve and suspicion, and during a great scene where he catches a glimpse of himself through Spence's eyes. As Spence, Jeffrey Marx is good, though he seems to have issues with his timing, often pausing before speaking in a way that slows down the scenes (and undercuts the emotion of the particularly fraught moments) and seeming at times to bobble his lines. In fairness, this is not uncommon in festivals due to the short rehearsal times involved. All this said, Marx does an amazing job during Spence's breakdown after removing his shirt. His performance at that moment is raw and moving.

Though this production is in need of a stronger touch by director Web Bogole, there is a lot to recommend it and Christopher's script.

Man Boobs
Written by J. Julian Christopher
Directed by Web Begole
Producer: Kristen Luciani
Lighting Design: Sheila Donovan
Set Design: Web Begole, J. Julian Christopher
Sound Design: J. Julian Christopher
Stage/Light Crew: J. Julian Christopher, Sheila Donovan, Richard Ponce
Postcard Design: J. Julian Christopher

Featuring: Jeffrey Marx (Spence) and Robert Valin (Marty)

Cherry Lane Studio Theater
38 Commerce Street

Closed July 24th

Friday, July 23, 2010

Just Because

French and Saunders' take on "I Know Him So Well" from Chess.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


8coupons has teamed up with Abraham Lincoln’s Big, Gay Dance Party Off-Broadway to offer 188 lucky people tickets for $8 (reg. $51.25). Tickets are first come, first serve and available for performances July 27 through August 10.

Who: &

What: 8coupons OCHO LOCO! First 188 people can see Abraham Lincoln’s Big, Gay Dance Party for $8!

When: $8 tickets available for performances from July 27 through August 10.

Where: Abraham Lincoln’s Big, Gay Dance Party is located at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd St.)

Why: In this politically charged mash-up comedy, a fourth-grade Christmas pageant in Lincoln’s rural Illinois hometown questions Honest Abe’s sexuality and sets off a firestorm of controversy. A thought-provoking, laugh-out-loud funny, and uniquely American story unfolds from three different character’s viewpoints - the audience decides the order - creating a truly democratic theatre-going experience. Finally, a Party you can get behind! What could be more American than that?

How: OCHO LOCO! Tickets now on sale. Be the first 188 - 2 Ways To Order:

1. Text yourself the special OCHO LOCO! coupon from and show your phone to the box office to redeem. Use promo code: OCHOABE.
2. Visit or call 212-947-8844 and use promo code: OCHOABE.


The Conditions: $1.25 facility fee will be added to each ticket (Total $9.25). Limit 8 tickets per order! Additional service fees may apply to phone/online orders. This offer is subject to availability and can be revoked at anytime.

Broadway Stands Up For Freedom On July 26th

Join the New York Civil Liberties Union for Broadway Stands Up for Freedom!, their annual star-studded concert to support the youth programs of the NYCLU.

Broadway Stands Up for Freedom will take place Monday, July 26 at 7:30 PM at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Pl. at Washington Square South.

Check out a video clip of last year's showand buy tickets on their website.

This year's show includes performances by Tony Award winners and nominees Kate Baldwin (Finian's Rainbow), Rebecca Luker (Mary Poppins), Nellie McKay (The Threepenny Opera), Anthony Rapp (Rent), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent), J. Robert Spencer (Next to Normal), and many more!

Host and Musical Director: Seth Rudetsky
Honorary Chair: Tony Kushner

Monday, July 12, 2010

Uncut: The Finale at The Triad Theater on July 14th

By Byrne Harrison
Cross-posted from

After a year of performing her relationship-inspired cabaret show, Melissa E. Driscol is bringing Uncut to a close. Uncut: The Finale will be Wednesday, July 14th at the Upper West Side's Triad Theater.

The show will feature what we have come to expect from Driscol's productions: songs; scenes from Driscol's adventures and misadventures in dating; sexy, gay dancing boys (The Dancing Bottoms); Miss Stonewall 2009, Chocolatina; Miss Fire Island, Ariel Sinclair; After Party's Brandon Cutrell; Bobby Stamper's musical direction; Maria Gentile's direction; and Jamie Delgrosso's choreography.

Come see this young woman’s journey through love, life, and the pursuit of happiness! All this and new songs, new scenes, and lots of fun new dances.

Also appearing in Uncut: The Finale are Adam Chandler, Charles Rockhill, Gabrielle Taryn, Lawrence Baca, Matthew Dean Fletcher, TJ Fix, Matthew Shofner, Joshua Brooks and Josh Smith.

Wednesday, July 14, 8pm

The Triad Theater
158 West 72nd Street at Broadway

Tickets can be purchased for $10 at

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

$8 Tickets to Puppetry of the Penis

8coupons has teamed up with Puppetry of the Penis Off-Broadway to offer tickets for $8 (reg. $49.50) for performances July 13 at 8pm, July 14 at 8pm and July 15 at 8pm. Tickets are $18 (reg. $49.50) for performances July 16 through July 24.

Who: and

What: 8coupons OCHO LOCO! See Puppetry of the Penis for as little as $8!

When: $8 tickets available for performances on July 13 at 8pm, July 14 at 8pm, July 15 at 8pm. $18 tickets available for performances from July 16 - July 24; all shows start at 8pm.

Where: Puppetry of the Penis is located at the Bleecker Street Theatre (45 Bleecker Street just east of Lafayette Street)

Why: Because New York is all about shock, astonishment, and delight!

How: OCHO LOCO! Tickets now on sale. 2 Ways To Order:

1. Text yourself the special OCHO LOCO! coupon from and show your phone to the box office to redeem. Use promo code: 8PUPPET.
2. Visit or call 212-947-8844 and use promo code: 8PUPPET.


The Conditions: $1.50 facility fee will be added to each ticket. Limit 8 tickets per order! Additional service fees may apply to phone/online orders. This offer is subject to availability and can be revoked at anytime.

Friday, July 2, 2010

FRIGID New York Presents Mini Fridge

By Byrne Harrison

It's winter in July as Horse Trade Theater Group and FRIGID New York bring back a few of their best shows from this season's FRIGID New York Festival. If you missed these shows in February and March, you have two days to catch them again.

The Mini Fridge features tenderpits, the latest for Art's Heart creator Anthony Johnston. Check out a sample of both plays below. It also features transgender butch Kestryl Lowrey's play about masculinity, XY(T), from the 2008 FRIGID New York Festival.

Here's the full line up.

Friday, July 2

6:30pm tenderpits
The part-autobiographical, part-fictionalized story of a young man’s immigration from Canada to New York City- and of his realization that he is, in fact, a wizard. From the creators of Art’s Heart (Winner, Outstanding Solo Show FringeNYC 2009) comes a sick new show about identity, magic and armpits. Do you believe?

8:30pm No Traveller
In a narcissistic attempt to win her family’s attention, Abigail decides to perform the greatest stunt of all- attempted suicide. When her childish venture turns into unexpected reality, Abigail finds herself trapped in purgatory – a warped version of her apartment with two exits. Heaven or Hell. As a result of her foolish mistake, there is atonement and penance to be paid. . . and time is running out.

10:30pm Vodka Shoes
Rather than abuse her, Leslie’s alcoholic father would buy her shoes, drag race the lawnmower, and burn the neighbor’s bills, while her mother managed a doomed Christian bookstore and prayed in tongues over Leslie’s ailing sister. Leslie’s storytelling navigates a humorously tragic journey through childhood with frighteningly endearing characters.

12am Canuck Cabaret

Saturday, July 3

6:30pm XY(T)
Do you have the balls to become a man? XY(T) brings to life a series of questions, contradictions, and characters around the theme of testosterone. Veering between playful, poignant, hilarious, and disconcerting, transgender butch Kestryl Lowrey strips away layers of gender and self in pursuit of sex and sanity within embodied masculinity.

8:30pm Ramblings of a Gentleman Scumbag
Lucky Chengs Balloon man, delusional comic, and man of no God tries to justify 34 years of poor life choices and degeneracy. Profiled in Playgirl, FHM Magazine, Time-Out NY Magazine, Murdock is not your Father’s balloon man. A straight man in a gay world, a feminist in the sex industry, a ridiculous man in a ridiculous world.

10:30pm Kill the Band
KILL THE BAND IS THE ORIGINAL, COMEDY ROCK AND ROLL, ANTI-CABARET! Coinciding with the release of their first concept album, KILL THE BAND takes you on a cleverly comedic, musically theatrical trip through the band’s breakdowns and breakthrough.

12am Canuck Cabaret featuring Kill The Band

And if this wasn't enough, there will be a 4th of July BBQ on Sunday at 1 PM.

The mini-festival will play at UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Ave and Ave A). Tickets ($15, $25 Two Show Pass, $30 Three Show Pass) are available by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444 or online at

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Slap&Tickle on the Radio

Slap&Tickle director David Drake and playwright David Parr will be discussing the show today on WOMR Radio 92.1 FM in Provincetown at 12:30 Eastern.

Click here to go to the WOMR webpage and listen to the live stream.