Author: Kathryn Adisman

Ode To Joy

If you want to watch people wracked with pain enjoying themselves, I recommend “Ode To Joy,” a romantic comedy for the S&M set (spiritually speaking), which examines the relationship of addiction to art. Is it a choice or is it a disease? The suffering artist is held up before us for our entertainment, like Jesus on the Cross. Not for the faint of heart. Lucas feels he’s been persecuted by the critics and he lets it all hang out. The title is an allusion to Beethoven’s Ninth symphony. In the play, it’s ironic and at the same time we’re...

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The Tribute Artist

Take my advice: Never go to the theater with someone who stages scenes in real life. The true diva puts the drama onstage, transforming histrionics into heroism.  Witness Charles Busch. “The Tribute Artist,” a world premiere commissioned by Primary Stages, a theater dedicated to supporting playwriting, is essentially a departure for Busch. Unlike previous plays where he portrays a woman, here Busch plays a male character. Drag is not gratuitous but comes out of the necessities of the plot, which has him pretending to be his landlady. Not all that far-fetched given the lengths people go to in real life in order to hang onto their Manhattan property. The play combines contemporary topics – American transgendered teens; New York City real estate; body parts sold on the black market — with trademark retro style. The set is the lavishly decorated parlor of a Greenwich Village townhouse that looks like something out of a Hollywood movie set, or the game of Clue. In the opening scene, Rita (Julie Halston) “a hapless lesbian real estate agent” (in Halston’s words), is trying on a gown designed by Adriana, an elderly European fashion designer living like “exiled royalty” behind the walls of her West Village mansion. Adriana disparages Rita as “common clay” in contrast with Rita’s friend and Adriana’s boarder, who has genuine style. On cue, Jimmy (Charles Busch) makes his entrance in...

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