The recent Broadway stagehands’ strike briefly cast a pall over
the Big Apple, but before that happened, there was lots of great theater going
on in New York – much of it involving openly gay artists
and/or concerning gay themes and subject matter. All told, it was a very good
year. Here’s a selective rundown of the exciting, surprising, entertaining, and
sometimes disappointing shows and performances that comprised gay theater in
2007, both on and off Broadway.
The Gayest Show of the Year
Xanadu, out playwright Douglas Carter Beane’s
wickedly funny takeoff on one of the worst films ever made. True, it wasn’t
specifically gay, but starring the out Cheyenne Jackson and featuring disco
balls, roller skates, and fabulous muses, Xanadu
still takes this contest hands down.
Runner- Up: The Ritz, a
sidesplitting revival of Terrence McNally’s knockabout gay bathhouse farce,
courtesy of the Roundabout Theatre Company. Honorable Mention for Achievement
Off-Broadway: Die Mommie Die!
Best Performance by an Openly Gay Actor in a Broadway
Not so long ago, it was unthinkable that there could ever be a tie in this
category, but that’s just what happened in 2007. As the male lead in Xanadu,
Cheyenne Jackson is at once hilarious and devastatingly sexy – which, when you
think about it, is a rare combination. And David Hyde Pierce is comic
perfection as Lieutenant Frank Cioffi in Curtains, which boasts a
score by the openly gay team of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb.
Lifetime Achievement Award
This one goes to Edward Albee, arguably our greatest living
playwright and one of the first to be openly gay. His latest work is Peter
and Jerry, a rewrite and expansion of his one-act The Zoo Story. The
piece has no gay content to speak of, but it’s very well done, and it boasts an
amazing performance by Dallas Roberts as the creepy Jerry. Catch it at Second
Stage Theatre before it closes on December 30.