Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cellar Door Theatre brings back Charles Busch's cult classics - with finesse and flair

October 2 through November 1
at Stage Werx

Mark McCleese
(Choreographer/Fauna Alexander/Girl/Madeleine Astarte) was a knockout in the roles originated by actor/playwright Charles Busch. The choreography was fresh and fun, and McCleese's dancer's body lended itself well to the form-fitting and revealing costumes. I was happy to see that this production stayed true to Busch's original style of drag, which involved no padding whatsoever. Mark's voice and mannerisms were amazingly feminine, and he commanded both leads in a manner which would have made Busch proud.

Celeste Russi
(Enid Wetwhistle/Succubus/La Condesa) was another standout in the roles originated by actress Julie Halston. She appeared to handle the difficult roles with equal parts vim and abandon, and was truly a delight to watch.

Kudos should go Artistic Director David Stein. According to Charles Busch, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and Sleeping Beauty or Coma are very tricky to pull off.

I was not privileged to see the original productions, or any other production until this one, but I felt that every decision that went into this production was right. The proof was in the audience enjoyment of these two plays. The laughter flowed freely throughout, people smiled in unison as if we were all friends at a party, and there was a general feeling of fun and goodwill. I saw it with two friends who were under a lot of stress as well as dealing with painful physical ailments - and was happy to see that both forgot their troubles and enjoyed themselves. Stein truly did reach his goal to "
give each and every audience member a small vacation from everyday reality".

I want to thank all involved in this production for giving us that small vacation, as well as for giving a new audience, myself included, the opportunity to see two legendary plays done with great style and finesse. As a friend of the playwright, it was truly a treat for me to finally see his early works come alive onstage.

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Sleeping Beauty or Coma

Vampire Lesbians of Sodom

Ray of Light Theatre's "Rocky Horror" - FINAL WEEKEND! Feature by Comcast:

Valentine at Trannyshack performing "Hot Patootie"

Thrillpeddlers' production of Charles Busch's "Theodora, She-Bitch of Byzantium" (2008)