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July 25, 2021


If your sense of humor can include: a gay Latino Jesus; a mother who is both narcoleptic and possessing Tourette's syndrome; butch lesbian angel; “Brokeback Mountain” shepherds; puppet Santa Claus; a very elderly flatulent pianist; diva behavior, some very swishy men, and a burnt baby Jesus, then The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever is for you.

There is no doubt that the show is “gay theatre” as writer/director Joe Marshall uses his own experience of Alternative Theatre, in Phoenix AR, to have the action take place “on the Baron Stage of the Triangle Theatre Company, a small LGBT theatre group in West Hollywood, California. It is time for the annual Christmas pageant.”

A problem is faced when director Manny (Adam Weinstock) is faced with his lover/writer Rod (Jason B. Schmidt) who wants to submit his play. Manny already having dealt with Rod’s “Okla-Homo” with a song entitled, “The Farmer and the Cowman Should Both Bend” and a few other flops, doesn’t even want to read his latest script. In the end, Rod’s script is used with the title, The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever with an African-American lesbian as the director.

Characters emerge during the casting call, which is a great part of the humor. We have a diva who does a monologue from a soap opera, followed by an obviously gay male doing the same monologue, who gets an even more laugh when he quickly wipes off the floor that he’s falling onto.

Then there’s an African-American straight “hood”, Tyrone (Kershel Anthony) who recites a monologue taken from Craig’s List and a guy with a Santa Claus puppet who speaks for the puppet.

Oh yeah, did I tell you that Rod wants to top the Christmas tree with a Santa that blows snow from his butt?

Some of the bits that I found to be funnier were: when stage manager Jim’s (Ryan Wright) narcoleptic/ Tourett’s mother fell to the floor (to fall asleep); Tyrone’s monologue; and the final rehearsal of the Christmas pageant itself.

As for the acting, Kudos to: Crystal Cotton who portrays Margie, the African-American lesbian director; anytime that Jason B. Schmidt talks/moves; Ree Davis, who portrayed Martha the pianist (only if that isn’t her own personality); and to those actors that performed the “dream scenes” near the manger.

On the whole, The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever is not a “must see” or “blockbuster” but a show without a “trying to figure out” plot and a really “fun” experience. So go, all ye faithful to The Actors Playhouse and have a few laughs. You can also listen to an interview with Joe Marshall, producer Adrian Maynard, and actors Elyse Beyer (who plays Janet the Assistant Director), Crystal Cotton and Heather Shields (who plays Tina/Mary) on Whirl With Merle at www.blogtalkradio.com.

Oh, yeah…I was doing the commercial for Fairytale Brownies and it took another five minutes to get off the subject as Joe went on their website of www.brownies.com and saw the visual of what I was describing. Fairytale Brownies’ latest are small square brownies enrobed in dark chocolate and covered with bits of candy cane!

Speaking of chocolate. Fifth Avenue Chocolatiere, whose new location is on 43rd and 3rd, now has their factory located in Valley Stream. Joseph E Whaley, who took over his father’s business, purchased a building and this factory has a storefront of a much larger chocolate store. There is an area for parties and a very large factory that you can tour, which includes an “I Love Lucy” machine…if you know what I mean. Best chocolate? Their melt-in-your-mouth truffles, coated with cocoa vs. chocolate. More about this when I go back after the holidays. The address is 396 Rockaway Avenue (516-561-1570).

For those of you that are interested in nostalgia, the V train, running on Sundays, for the next few weeks, has cars dating back to the 1930s. The train actually begins on 2nd Avenue in Manhattan and goes to Queens Plaza. Best to make your way to 2nd Avenue as there is much more time to look at and walk through the cars before it leaves the station. The first train leaves from 2nd Avenue at 10:01 a.m. with the last at 4:01 p.m.

There are some very old posters to view including Miss Subway. Some of the cars have the old wicker seats and all have ceiling fans. You can check out the full schedule on the MTA website.

Kenny Rogers recently released a 3 set CD of his first 50 years of music of more than 40 hits with three previously unreleased songs that includes a new duet with Dolly Parton. Provided with the set is a booklet featuring photos from Kenny’s personal collection.

The discs are categorized by Love Songs, Duets and Story Songs. You’ll be able to see him perform at the former Westbury Theatre on December 23rd, now called the Capital One Bank Theatre.

December 17, 2009 - Queens Times


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