The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told
By Paul Rudnick
Starring Brett McMahon, Tripp Karrh, Sara Jones, Camila Camilo
Looking for drama? Backstage at the Footlights is my go-to spot for fraught interpersonal conflicts, but tonight the show did go on. This Paul Rudnick script originally opened the Footlights as a legitimate stage 16 years ago, and it’s still a brutally funny vehicle of gags, social commentary and fun. The two acts are only loosely tied together but hold a common theme: the Christian Right isn’t always correct. Act One presents a gay parody of the key bible stories from creation to Bethlehem and explores “What if Eden WAS staffed by Adam and Steve (Brett McMahon and Tripp Karrh)?” It’s plausible; the pair discover the world and each other as a bored stage manager (Beth Marshall) calls the light cues. According to the script we get 250 plus light changes, but who’s counting? Oh, yeah. The Stage Manager is counting. The guys are happy until the lesbians wander in. Jane and Mabel (Sara Jones and Camila Camilo) know how to use tools and publicize justice; when the guys get them evicted it’s up to the gals to keep the lights on. And we are off to tour the old testament from here to the Nativity.
Act Two moves to a modern NYC apartment where Adam and Steve prepare for Christmas. Their eccentric friends fill the apartment and we meet the hyper chipper Mormon (Melanie Leon), the burned-out Santa (Doug Bowser), and the Twink (John Ryan). Jane is pregnant and gives birth (off stage, thank you Jesus!) and then everybody decides to get gay married by the disabled Rabbi Sharon (Jessica Hoehn). While the motivations are often weak, and the cultural references dated (Olivia Newton John? Really?) there’s plenty of room for laughs. Doug Bowser led the way, first as the exceptionally flamboyant Pharaoh and in the second act as a one-liner machine sitting on a chair and getting nearly every gag to pull a laugh. McMahon’s Adam leads the skeptical faction. In act one he argued rationally (always a party killer strategy) while Steve played Dora Explorer and, always asking “why” to the point of losing paradise. Ms. Jones had the butch role and got things built while yelling at everyone; Ms. Camilo’s Mabel played the space cadet and the world’s first Unitarian. That’s leaves us with one big philosophical question: just who and where is God? Only Beth Marshall can answer that: it’s the stage manager. She can turn the lights out any old time she wants and speaks with a booming resonance. Now that’s a super power worth having.
For more information on shows at the Footlights Theater, please visit http://www.parliamenthouse.com/footlight-theatre/