Not knowing the history of the musical comedy Pageant, when I first heard about it I thought it was about drag pageants, like the 2008 documentary of the same name. But no, Pageant was a Off-Broadway hit in the early 1990s, essentially an ordinary, kinda low-rent beauty pageant in which the female contestants are all played by men. Judging by the current revival, the show is a charming, featherweight bit of fun, without much serious to say about gender: an irreverent but essentially innocent tribute to kitschy Americana. Which is just fine as far as I’m concerned.
GaySocialites own Jonathan Warman is directing the new musical Me & Caesar Lee by Pat Holley, set in the world of 1980s R&B. A 43 year old former pop diva hopes to make a comeback by writing songs for a teen age singing group. Infatuated with the group and deeply infatuated with their 22 year old manager, she journeys through the resulting heartaches and betrayals, leading her to confront the haunting legacy of her mother’s suicide and her own desire to live. The cast includes Robyn Payne (The Lion King, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Kismet @ Encores!), Two-time Tony nominee Ernestine Jackson (Raisin, Guys & Dolls), Raun Ruffin (The Civil War, Randy Newman’s Faust), up-and-coming R&B singer Amanda Holley, Nick Mara (“America’s Best Dance Crew”), Joshua Scarlett and Sadat Waddy. For tickets, click here.
For more about Jonathan Warman’s directing, see jonathanwarman.com.
Brilliant actor-dancer-singer Jim Dale started out in the last days of British music hall. Just Jim Dale, his retrospective one man show, has the earthy yet somehow breezy quality of music hall at its best. In the show, Jim gives us only the most entertaining highlights of an amazingly diverse life in show business. From music hall he went to rock and roll singing and songwriting – he wrote the lyrics to the huge hit “Georgy Girl” – to film and stage acting, to doing hundreds of voices for all seven Harry Potter audiobooks.
Out cabaret star Mark Nadler is one of the greatest showmen of our time, capable of leaping from floor to piano bench, while keeping steady eye contact with the audience – all the while playing a complex passage on the piano without even glancing at the keys. In “Runnin’ Wild”, his new show about the Roaring Twenties, Nadler plays and sings with his usual virtuosic abandon, in a show constructed with his usual passionate intelligence. And as usual, the show is stunning.
The power of siblings harmonizing is on glorious display in performances of the legendary cabaret act Sibling Revelry, which hadn’t been seen in New York in over 15 years. Verifiably legendary at that – it’s so broadly influential that two drag queens in Pennsylvania make it their schtick to perform the Callaway sisters’ entire act.