Summer in stages: East or West, queer-tinged theater is the best. Our countrywide roundup of cool shows for hot weather – arts & entertainment

Gerard Raymond

Show: Adrift in Macao, book and lyrics by Christopher Durang, music by Peter Melnick

Space: New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., July 10-20

Synopsis: Everyone comes to Rick’s–Rick Shaw’s Macao Surf and Turf Nightclub Gambling Casino, that is. Out wit Durang’s musical is a film noir spoof with all the usual suspects: exotic locales, blackmail, dangerous sexual liaisons, and, of course, romance.

Star player: Alec Mapa, in a hilarious turn as Tempura, the inscrutable manservant.

Show: All Over and The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? both by Edward Albee

Space: All Over: Gramercy Theater, New York City, through September 1; Sylvia: John Golden Theater, New York City, open run

Synopsis: The revival of All Over, the witty and moving 1971 chamber drama, is directed by Emily Mann and features delicious performances by Rosemary Harris and Michael Learned. Sylvia, with its clear allegorical message about forbidden desire and its gay teen character, just won the Tony for Best Play.

Star player: Albee. His latest Tony–his first for Best Play since Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1963–is fueling already heated enthusiasm for the 74-year-old gay playwright’s entire body of work.

Show: The Boys From Syracuse, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, adapted book by Nicky Silver

Space: American Airlines Theater, New York City. Previews begin July 24; opens August 18, runs through October 20

Synopsis: A revival of the musical based on Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, from out director Scott Ellis.

Star player: Gay playwright Silver, who spiced up George Abbott’s book with his own brand of mordant humor.

Show: Dear World by Jerry Herman

Space: Sundance Resort, Utah–Eccles Stage, through August 17

Synopsis: Recently revised with a new book by David Thompson, this musicalization of Jean Giraudoux’s The Madwoman of Chaillot now features three new Jerry Herman songs and stars Maureen McGovern in the role that won Angela Lansbury a Tony Award in 1969.

Star player: Herman. Living with HIV hasn’t slowed down the composer of such beloved musicals as Mame, Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles; he has described the lesser-known score for Dear World as his strongest.

Show: Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune by Terrence McNally

Space: Belasco Theater, New York City. Previews begin July 26; opens August 8, runs through December 29

Synopsis: Joe Mantello directs a revival of McNally’s touching comedy about two unlikely lovers, played by Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci.

Star players: The director-playwright team who gave us Love! Valour! Compassion!

Show: Hairspray, music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan

Space: Neil Simon Theater, New York City. Previews begin July 18, opens August 15, open run

Synopsis: A musical based on John Waters’s hilarious movie celebrating 1960s Baltimore.

Star players: Nearly everyone. The openly gay talents who have created this show include Waters, Shaiman, Wittman, O’Donnell, director Jack O’Brien, choreographer Jerry Mitchell, and costume designer William Ivey Long, not to mention Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad, the role created by Divine in the movie [see “Everything’s Coming Up Hairspray,” page 50].

Show: The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca

Space: Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, July 14-September 1

Synopsis: In rural Spain, the five cloistered daughters of a tyrannical matriarch struggle to find an outlet for their erotic desires and their longings for freedom. The stellar cast is headlined by Chita Rivera.

Star players: Director Lisa Peterson and adapter Chay Yew will merge their 21st-century lesbian and gay sensibilities with that of the late gay Spanish poet.

Show: Naked Boys Singing!

Space: Bailiwick Arts Center, Chicago, through September 29; Actors’ Playhouse, New York City, open run

Synopsis: The cheeky phenomenon, now in its fourth year of local productions worldwide (and scheduled for Berlin and Amsterdam this fall!), continues to draw audiences with its wiggles and its wit–its mostly first-rate songs are both smart and catchy.

Star players: Naked boys. Singing.

Show: New York International Fringe Festival

Space: Multiple locations throughout New York City, August 9-25

Synopsis: The sixth annual eclectic downtown event, which in the past has introduced the stage adaptation of Debbie Does Dallas and the current Broadway hit Urinetown.

Star player: At least five new queer-related works: Chic and Sassy: The Higher the Hair, The Closer to God, the tale of two “fresh-faced Texas trailer-park drag queens” who enter a play-writing contest; a pairing of new one-act plays by Christopher Shinn (Sleepers) and David Greenspan (Five Frozen Embryos); Sticky Rice Queen, touted as addressing Asian identity crises in the gay world; and the irresistibly titled It’s Not My Fault, It Was on Fire When I Got There, a comedy revolving round a Midwestern lesbian commitment ceremony.

Show: Play Yourself by Harry Kondoleon

Space: Century Center for the Performing Arts, New York City. Previews began June 19; opens July 10, runs through August 4

Synopsis: Marian Seldes plays an aging film star whose life in seclusion with her daughter is disrupted by a visit from a fan. Directed by out playwright Craig Lucas (Prelude to a Kiss).

Star player: Kondoleon, a writer who has influenced two generations of gay playwrights and whose own prolific career was cut short by AIDS in 1994.

Show: SEaMEN! The Sailor Musical by Hugh Hysell

Space: Fez, New York City, through July 28; Crown and Anchor Cabaret, Provincetown, Mass., through September 7

Synopsis: A campy revue about gay love on the sea with well-known tunes and a well-worn plot.

Star players: Men in uniform–or out of uniform.

Show: Some Like It Hot, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill, book by Peter Stone, based on the 1959 screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

Space: National tour opens in Dallas, July 15; San Francisco, September 30

Synopsis: The drag classic as musical.

Star player: Tony Curtis. The film’s star now plays billionaire Osgood Fielding, who utters the movie’s gender-bending dosing line, “Well, nobody’s perfect!”

Show: Take Me Out by Richard Greenberg

Space: Public Theater, New York City Previews begin August 23; opens September 5, runs through September 29

Synopsis: A star baseball player outs himself; directed by Joe Mantello.

Star player: Greenberg. The author of Eastern Standard and Three Days of Rain speculates on a hot-button topic.

Show: The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife by Charles Busch

Space: The West Coast tour plays the Ahmanson Theater, Los Angeles, through August 11; the Curran Theater, San Francisco, August 13-September 8; also still open on Broadway

Synopsis: The story of an upper west side New Yorker (Valerie Harper) whose life turns upside down has had audiences laughing for more than two years; Michele Lee and Tony Roberts costar.

Star player: Busch. The drag diva and Oz inmate continues to enjoy this well-deserved mainstream triumph.

Show: Thoroughly Modern Millie, book by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan, with Robert Kent; music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by Dick Scanlan

Space: Marquis Theater, New York City; open run

Synopsis: This adaptation of the 1967 movie about a Midwestern gal who discovers Jazz Age Manhattan picked up six Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Star players: The all-star gay creative team includes director Michael Mayer, former Advocate contributor Scanlan, and Tony-winning choreographer Rob Ashford.

Raymond is author of the lesbian and gay guidebook New York Scene.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Liberation Publications, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

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