Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Bill Nelson's All Male Revue" returns with a change of songs

Bill Nelson, Frank Galgano, Claibourne Elder, Orville Mendoza, just part of the company.

For those who were lucky enough to catch the first outing of Bill Nelson's All-Male Revue, seeing it again is a no-brainer. The relaxed and easy-going Nelson is a writer of clever, often gay-themed lyrics that touch both our hearts and our funny bones.

We've talked to Bill and written up a detailed preview which you can read here in Berkshire on Stage. (A special feature of that site is that you can search via category to find performances of special interest, just click on the LGBT category in the drop down "Find Stories by Category" menu). This year there will be something old, something new, something campy, something blue as he skewers everything from his youthful crushes to the latest headlines.

Here's the official news release:


Bill Nelson’s ALL-MALE REVUE
Lyrics by Bill Nelson

Music by various composers including Will Aronson, Rob Broadhurst, Hailey Chang, Creighton Irons, Anna K. Jacobs, David Mallamud, Katya Stanislavskaya, and Niko Tsakalakos

New to the cast this year: Stanley Bahorek

Starring Matt Castle, Claybourne Elder, Frank Galgano, Orville Mendoza, and Stanley Bahorek

Music Direction by Matt Castle
Directed by William Finn

August 26 through 28, 2010

( PITTSFIELD , MA ) Back by popular demand, Barrington Stage Company's Musical Theatre Lab, under the mentorship of Tony winning composer/lyricist William Finn, presents the return of Bill Nelson’s All-Male Revue from August 26 -28 at the theater’s Stage 2 performance venue in Downtown Pittsfield.

A musical revue where the only thing naked is the lyrics. If David Sedaris were musicalized, he’d sound like Bill Nelson. Nelson’s lyrics are equal parts jaw-dropping, profound and daffy. Join Bill and the guys for a casual, fun evening of fresh, inventive theatre songs.

Starring Matt Castle (Company), Claybourne Elder (Road Show), Frank Galgano (Naked Boys Singing), Orville Mendoza (Road Show), and Stanley Bahorek (See Rock City and Other Destinations), the revue features the lyrics of Bill Nelson and music by various composers including Will Aronson, Rob Broadhurst, Hailey Chang, Creighton Irons, Anna K. Jacobs, David Mallamud, Katya Stanislavskaya, and Niko Tsakalakos.

Matt Castle is music director, with direction by William Finn.

Bill and William

Playwright/lyricist/bookwriter Bill Nelson received an MFA from the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program where he wrote, with composer Daniel Lincoln, Savannah: a Musical Fable. Bill’s plays have been performed across the country and his songs have been heard at cabarets around the world, including William Finn’s Songs by Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists—presented at both Barrington Stages and Joe’s Pub—and New York Theatre Barn's The Oh, So Sexy Songs of Bill Nelson. A Dramatist Guild fellow and published lyricist, he's currently working with composer Anna K. Jacobs on a new musical, Harmony, Kansas , about a gay men's chorus in rural Kansas . www.BillNelsonBillNelson.com.

Performances will take place at BSC’s Stage 2 space, 36 Linden Street , Pittsfield on Thursday, August 26 at 9:30pm, Friday, August 27 at 9:30pm, and Saturday, August 28 at 10:00pm. Tickets are $15 (general admission) by calling the BSC Box Office at 413-236-8888 or online at www.barringtonstageco.org.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Altar Boyz!" a fun show that parodies Christian boy bands

The Altar Boyz! From L. to R.: Tom Garutto, Eddie Maldando, Trey Compton, Barry Shafrin and Steven Cardona are the Altar Boyz.

If you've enjoyed some quality time watching videos of boy bands then this is the show for you: four wholesome lads from Ohio, Matthew, Mark, Luke and Juan, meet up with their Jewish friend Abraham when they all hear the voice of God telling them to go out among the masses and save a few souls. Only if you are a Christian fundamentalist, it's not going as planned. Imagine if Fred Phelps got a call from Jesus informing him that he was back on earth to help spread the word, but that he was calling from the Crown and Anchor in Provincetown.

You see, Altar Boys - playing at the nearby Theater Barn in New Lebanon, NY from August 12-22 - is a rip roaring parody. It makes fun of boy bands, Catholicism, contemporary Christian music, closeted gays, gay Latino pop stars, boy-band costume designers, simplistic theology, unrequited gay crushes, commercialized Christianity, and occasionally someone in the audience. Those who were brought up Catholic, or Southern Baptist, or have been gay-bashed or even got mocked for going to an 'N Sync concert years ago will feel downright welcome.

And those with sharp ears will find a special message in the song "Rhythm in me" sung by gay boys: "God put the rhythm in me. Put it in me! Put it in me!"

The Altar Boyz (l to r) Trey Compton (Matthew), Barry Shafrin (Mark), Tom Garutto (Luke), Eddie Maldonado (Juan), Steven Cardona (Abraham).

Imagine the shades of red that someone like Tony Perkins or Pat Robertson would turn if they were seated next to you. These are no New Kids on the Block, at least once they hit the road and got out of Ohio.

Read my interview with the director, Bert Bernardi about the show, visit my Berkshire on Stage website where a little more family friendly interpretation of the show prevails. I have not seen it yet, but will get a review up early next week, hopefully by Monday, August 16.

Performances of Altar Boyz take place from August 12-22 on Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 5pm and 8:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $24 except Sunday matinees which are $22. For tickets call 518-794-8989. The Theatre Barn is located at 654 Route 20, New Lebanon, NY 12125. They have a simple website with season and subscription information.