by Charles Winters
Welcome to the all new GaySocialites.com Online Magazine!
Over the past few months we have added some amazing new staffers and adopted a new magazine style of writing rather than blogging our opinions on everything.
Now, we’re excited to roll out or new magazine format. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be working through the kinks and making important changes (such as adding our logo to the header).
If you’re looking for the blog archives, you can still find them here: http://gaysocialites.com/archives.
by Jonathan Warman
The phrase “love letter to the theatre” gets bandied around a lot in reviews of backstage dramas. So let’s be more specific about The Grand Manner. The play is based on a brief encounter that playwright A. R. Gurney had with great American actress Katherine Cornell in 1948, when she was playing Cleopatra on Broadway in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. At the top of the show, Gurney shows the backstage program-signing moment as it actually happened: briskly, casually, with a few pearls of wisdom from the great actress, but nothing terribly dramatic, and taking no more than 5 minutes.
Gurney then starts over again, imagining a more extended meeting with Cornell, her manager (and sometime lesbian lover) Gertrude Macy, and her director/husband Guthrie McClintic (every bit as gay as Katherine was lesbian). This reimagining – a very satisfying set of point-counterpoint character studies – makes up the balance of the evening.
Gurney has done his research on his boyhood idol, and has richly imagined an actress of a certain age who keenly feels time and changing tastes passing her by, who wonders aloud whether she’s even right for the role of Cleopatra. Its these anxieties that provides the dramatic tension of the play; to a woman for whom acting is everything, these stakes are as high as can be.
Kate Burton is magificent as Cornell, conveying with great charm and sensitivity Katherine’s essential optimism, shaded by a sophisticated understanding of her own limitations. Seriously hard-working actor (and cutie pie) Bobby Steggart delicately underplays Pete (a fictionalized version of Gurney himself), who might just be more canny – and less shockable – than his more worldy elders initially think. Brenda Wehle is similarly (and appropriately) understated as the intellectual and unavoidably butch Gertude. And Boyd Gaines gets perhaps the most truly “grand” role as the flamboyant but still quite masculine McClintic, and he plays it to the hilt.
If The Grand Manner has a notable flaw, it would be that it’s a bit “insider-y” – the issues of the play matter greatly to people in the theatre, but may not even make sense to people outside of it. The play’s target audience: gay theatre people with a taste for history. Needless to say, I adored it!
For tickets, click here.
For more reviews and interviews by Jonathan Warman, see dramaqueennyc.com.
BoiParty.com invites you to Drama Saturdays where this week, you’ll get a chance to win Lady GaGa tickets!
Come early for 2-4-1 drinks and extra chances to win! Pop music by DJ Steve Sidewalk. $10 before midnight with invite above.
Rush is located at 579 Sixth Avenue (between 29th and 30th) in New York City.
Are you looking for posts that were up at GaySocialites.com before we started out TRANSition to an online magazine?
We’re going to get them imported into the magazine soon, but until then you can see them at http://www.gaysocialites.com/archives.
You’ll have to excuse us, because we’re undergoing a transition.
Now, I know you’re probably freaking about the archives, but you can still find them here: http://www.gaysocialites.com/archives.html. We’ll be uploading them into this new system soon (we hope).
You’ll also notice some tiny changes along the way as we learn more about the magazine we’re transitioning into. Being a tranny is harder than it looks!
Thanks for sticking with us as we under go our TRANSition from a blog to an online magazine. For you MTF trannies, its like growing a dick in a virtual sort of way.