Director Ben Rimalower is making a second career of turning life’s lemons into the lemonade of serio-comic one man shows, which he performs rather than directs (Aaron Mark directs Rimalower, and you have to give Mark credit for having the requisite boldness to direct a director). First there was Patti Issues, which detailed his complex relationships with both his heroine Patti LuPone and his own father. Now, in Bad with Money, he goes into his even more complex relationship with cash and credit.
Mark Dendy is one of the most brilliant American choreographers of our time, creating dance-theatre pieces that often have a decidedly queer turn. I had the great pleasure of working with him years ago on a goofy little indie musical called Andru’s Head. His latest, Labyrinth, opens tonight at Abrons Arts Center.
This play celebrates the joy of being different, being yourself, more than almost any other play out there, which long ago earned it a special place in my heart. The Sycamores are a family of happy eccentrics (who have always reminded me of my happily eccentric family), led by easy-going paterfamilias Grandpa Vanderhof (magnificently played here by James Earl Jones). When youngest daughter Alice (Rose Byrne) invites her fiancé’s straight-laced parents over for dinner, Grandpa and company find they must heartily defend their unusual way of life.
It is not at all surprising that this movie is already being adapted into a stage musical. For one thing, Matilda‘s Matthew Warchus directed it (with great feeling and nimbleness, I might add). Also, it’s the latest in a line of British movies that highlight a transforming encounter between working-class heart and queer fabulousness: The Full Monty, Billy Elliot, Kinky Boots, etc. All of which have gone on to be highly successful as musicals. It doesn’t hurt that Pride, to my mind anyway, is the best of the lot.