Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Ritz

Roundabout at Studio 54

I spotted playwright Terrence McNally standing outside Studio 54 scoping out the audience prior to the very first preview of the second Broadway revival of his 1975 gay bathhouse farce, The Ritz. After the first Broadway revival in `83, which disastrously closed after 14 previews and 1 performance (according to, I'm sure there is at least a bit of apprehension as to whether or not this latest Roundabout incarnation will sink or swim. In light of the fact that AIDS hysteria has calmed down over the years, our post-millennium audiences are probably a little more able/willing to look upon a gay bathhouse as a whimsical relic and not a sick den of infestation. Happily, the spectre of AIDS was nowhere to be found in this bouncy flouncy production. Score one for director Mantello! However, would this thin, dated farce have ever been revived had McNally not evolved into the major playwriting phenomenon he has since become? Probably not. Granted it was interesting visiting McNally's youthful, giddy voice as a green playwright, but in terms of farces, this isn't quite a classic. Generally does the show work? The audience laughed and clapped quite a bit and for the first preview of a door-slammer on Broadway, that's a definitely a respectable victory. Three great things: 1. Scott Pask's tri-level panorama of red doors and steamy hallways is GORGEOUS. 2. Brooks Ashmanskas, as a flaming, silken-robed swisher, is fucking hysterical and steals the show. 3. Three Hot Guy Alerts!- which, for the Hot Guy Alert committee, was definitely worth the price of admission.

Also blogged by: [Patrick] [Aaron]

1 comment:

Aaron Riccio said...

Did you go through Roundabout's cheap ticket thing? I'm using HIPTIX to check out their season once the shows open, and I'm curious as to how their initiative works out.