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Here's what I've enjoyed seeing or reading so far...hope you enjoy them as well!

      

 

Sunday
Oct022016

Adam's Call: 5 Guys Chillin': An original, refreshing play that is a conversation starter

Theatre is meant to do many things. It's meant to entertain, distract, and commisterate with us. It's also meant to make us think and start conversations about subjects not openly talked about. Well, 5 Guys Chillin', by Peter Darney, is a new, original, refreshing play that is a conversation starter. 

Currently playing at the SoHo Playhouse as part of the The Fringe Encore Series (both NYC & Edinburgh), 5 Guys Chillin' gives an inside look into the world of chemsex (a term invented by gay men on sexual networking platforms that refer to the use of certain drugs in sexualised contexts) and chillouts (a gathering in a private hosue where drugs such as mephedrone, G, and crystal meth may be taken. Chillouts often turn into sex parties).

5 Guys Chillin' was created out of interviews conducted with guys found on various dating apps. While those interviews were edited, everything in this show is based upon the words of real people's experiences.

Cesare Scarpone and Elliot Hadley in "5 Guys Chillin'", Photo Credit: Oscar Blustin"5 Guys Chillin'", Photo Credit: Oscar BlustinMy eyes were certianly opened watching this show. I was shown a segment of the gay community I had only heard about, but never experienced. Well, tonight, through this show, I feel like I experienced it and I'm glad it was through this show and not real life. It was frightening watching and listening to what was happening not more than 10 feet in front of me. Random guys, though some friends & some couples, gather at someone's house getting high, talking, while sometimes having various states of sexual relations with each other at the party. The stories were mostly tales of their sexual conquests while taking drugs or of other chemsex parties. With their judgement impaired, a lot of unsafe decisions can be made. Some of the guys have contracted numerous STDs, while others were infected with HIV, and some had other life-threatening events happen to them.

As the show went on, the stories intensified, becoming more jaw-dropping than the one before. I was engulfed. I was saddened. I was dumbfounded that these kinds of parties go on. But there is a large segment of the gay community that do it and I guess love it. I've never been into drugs nor do I have a desire to try them, but I was fascinated by this whole concept in the fact that it exists.

Adi Chugh, Cesare Scarpone and Rick Yale in "5 Guys Chillin'", Photo Credit: Oscar BlustinRick Yale, Adi Chugh, Cesare Scarpone, Richard De Lisle and Elliot Hadley in "5 Guys Chillin'", Photo Credit: Oscar BlustinThe scariest part was learning about the guys who overdose at these parties. Most times, the one overdosing is having convulsions, but usually helped down to the ground by others at the chillout. Depending on who is in attendance depends on what happens next. Some of the guys who overdosed are just left to sleep it off, others are gang-raped, while others don't make it to the light of day. In 5 Guys Chillin' one of the characters OD and while he was just left in the middle of the party to sleep it off, two other characters end up having sex with each other, right on top of him as if he were the floor or the couch or the bed.

With everything that went on at these parties, it really made me think what happened to these guys that made them turn to drugs in the first place? Then I wondered, what would make them put their lives at risk like this? What makes them think this is the way to have fun? They all have a story that lead them to these parties and while the play doesn't get into that, it is something I'd love to see explored in a second installment or if this play were made into a film.

2016 Cast of "5 Guys Chillin'", Photo Credit: Oscar BlustinElliot Hadley, Adi Chugh, Cesare Scarpone in "5 Guys Chillin'", Photo Credit: Oscar BlustinWhat happens at these parties is definitely not my scene, but I really commend Peter for bringing this subject to the forefront. He has written a terrific, eye-opening play that is not easy to watch, but really should be seen. Not every theatrical experience is happy go lucky. Theatre also exists to show us real life scenarios that are hard to swallow.

Peter is not the only one who should be applauded for this show. The entire cast was terrific! Rick Yale, Cesare Scarpone, Elliot Hadley, Richard De Lisle, and Adi Chugh are really putting themselves out there, not only in their briefs, but in the vulnerability of their characters as well as being part of a play with a very tough subject matter. 5 Guys Chillin' easily made me feel like I was at a chillout and not a theatrical show. 

5 Guys Chillin' runs through October 9 only at The SoHo Playouse in NYC (15 Vandam Street). Click here for tickets!

If you missed my interview with Peter Darney, the playwright/director of 5 Guys Chillin', click here to read it!

Click here for more on 5 Guys Chillin'! 

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Sunday
Aug072016

Adam's Call: "The Divine Sister" at Bucks County Playhouse: Still Heaven Sent

Bucks County cast for "The Divine Sister," from left to right: Erin Maguire, Alison Fraser, Charles Busch, Jonathan Walker, Jennifer Van Dyck, and Julie Halston, Photo Credit: Joan MarcusIt's been five years since Charles Busch's The Divine Sister closed in New York City. Over the past five years, this world has changed so much that I longed for the joy and laughter this show brought me. When I heard that Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA was going to mount a production of The Divine Sister, featuring the majority of the original New York cast, I was beyond excited!

This past weekend I had the privilege of heading to Bucks County Playhouse to see The Divine Sister, once again directed by Carl Andress, and I am pleased to say, it's still heaven sent with laughter, campiness, and lots of talent! Sure, there are a few slight changes, like a 15-minute intermission and the addition of Erin Maguire in the role of "Agnes," but other than that, The Divine Sister is as funny and brilliant as ever.

Charles Busch as "Mother Superior" in "The Divine Sister" at Bucks County Playhouse, Photo Credit: Joan MarcusJennifer Van Dyck and Jonathan Walker in "The Divine Sister" at Bucks County Playhouse, Photo Credit: Joan MarcusThe Divine Sister pays homage to Hollywood's "nun" movies telling the story of "Mother Superior's" determination to get The Convent at St. Veronica’s of Pittsburgh a new school no matter what. Charles Busch is such a strong playwright that the story and jokes held up just as well today as they did five years ago. Some of them even landed better in this election year.

It was great to see Charles Busch, Julie Halston, Alison Fraser, Jennifer Van Dyck, and Jonathan Walker all reprise their roles. The chemistry they have together is timeless! I could tell they all love performing together. Knowing how strong their bond is with each other, I did wonder how Erin would fit in to the mix. Well, Erin fit in perfectly. You'd never know she wasn't in the original New York production. It's such an ensemble driven show that everyone gets their moment to shine.

Alison Fraser and Julie Halston in "The Divine Sister" at Bucks County Playhouse, Photo Credit: Joan MarcusErin Maguire and Charles Busch in "The Divine Sister" at Bucks County Playhouse, Photo Credit: Joan MarcusThe Divine Sister really transported me to another place. It made me forget my troubles and hard times we live in. It brought me to a place where laughter ensued for two full hours. I pray everyone reading this write-up will get tickets and take the ride to Bucks County Playhouse to see this hilarious show! It's the closet to heaven we'll get anytime soon. The Divine Sister plays through August 13! Click here for tickets! 

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Tuesday
Aug022016

Adam's Call: Joel Creasey: A Comedy Legend in the Making

Call Me Adam and Joel Creasey at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYCLast November I saw a comedian whose name will be, if not already, on everybody's lips. That comedian was Joel Creasey! After interviewing Joel for "Call Me Adam," I had been hoping I'd get to see his show while he was in town. Well, as it turns out, I did get to see his show and I can flat out say, Joel Creasey is going to have a long comedy career!

His comedy style was fresh. He told stories about life in Australia, his time on I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, opening for Joan Rivers, and his various dating adventures. While many comedians tell life stories, Joel had an ease to his style and delivery, not often seen with other comedians. Joel was engaging and had no difficulty putting smiles on our faces.

Joel Creasey, Photo Credit: Ed PurnomoJoel Creasey, Photo Credit: Ed PurnomoI could identify a lot with his dating woes. One of my favorite tales Joel talked about was his time on I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Joel may have simply recounted the crazy events that happened on I'm A Celebrity, but the way he presented the events (like having to live with The Brady Bunch's Maureen McCormmick), he engulfed the audience, had us in the palm of his hands, and made us laugh so hard. My other favorite story Joel told was that of opening for Joan Rivers. I think this was favorite story because he showed a different side of Joan that not everyone got to see. He really described how Joan payed it forward with Joel, giving him some great advice about performing. It's advice he never forgot.

Joel CreaseyJoel's fresh take on life experiences was a welcomed addition to the world of comedy. It was great to see a comedian breathe new life into a performance genre that can sometimes blend together between comics. If you missed Joel last year, now is your chance to see this hilarious, bright, comedy legend in the making when he returns to The Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue inside the West Bank Cafe) with a new show playing August 4, 5, and 6th at 7pm! Click here for tickets!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Wednesday
Jul132016

Adam's Call: Michael Raver's Fire on Babylon: The Heat is On

Michael Raver is a rising playwright everyone should have their eye on! His new play, Fire on Babylon, which is in the Fresh Fruit Festival, is HOT! In fact, it's scalding with twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole play!

Fire on Babylon is about two New Yorkers each locked in personal crisis, while the city is having one of its own: the 2003 blackout. Between Michael's script, the set, the acting, and the direction, Fire on Babylon took me back to August 14, 2003, the day of the Northeast blackout. I was filled with emotions and those feelings lasted the throughout the show. The uncertainty of what was initially happening in the city, the fear, the crowds of people you saw walking the streets, the comradery of strangers, were all perfectly conveyed here.

Michael Raver in "Fire on Babylon", Photo Credit: Lloyd MulveyJeffrey Hayenga in "Fire on Babylon", Photo Credit: Lloyd MulveyAt the onset, I thought, perhaps, the play was going to be a typical gay story of older man/younger man, but little did I know, that feeling was going to be short-lived. It wasn't long until the lights went out and we were in the darkness of the blackout watching little rays of light shine through as secrets are revealed. First one secret, then another, and another, and before you know it, Fire on Babylon is taking you on a road you did not expect to go. As the truth unfolded, so did their hurt, which just seemed to get deeper and deeper throughout the play. But through these revelations, I learned so much about each character and how they got to where they are. Fire on Babylon really displayed the sentiment of how secrets and lies can crush a person's soul, but when the truth is set free, one can rise up and move forward.

Michael's words are rich, powerful, and intriguing. He has a great way to setting the story up and just when you think you might know what's going to happen, he throws a wrench in the mix and takes you in a different direction, only to make another turn you were not expecting, but leads to the end. While the road to the end might be full of twists and turns, it's these uncertainties that kept captivated me. Life is unpredictable and Michael did an excellent job of showing that in Fire on Babylon.

Michael Raver and Jeffrey Hayenga in "Fire on Babylon", Photo Credit: Lloyd MulveyNot only did Michael write the play, but he starred in it too, opposite Jeffrey Hayenga. Michael and Jeffrey had great chemistry together. They played well off of each other and effortlessly made me feel as though they could have been in a real relationship. Paul Mason Barnes' direction was great. I felt he really understood the concept of the play and helped excute it very well. I loved the set. Simple, but super effective. It easily reminded me of the apartment I had to stay in during the blackout as I could not make my way home.

Fire on Babylon is a strong piece that is worth checking out. There are only two performances left of this show in the Frest Fruit Festival: Friday, July 15th at 6pm and Sunday, July 17th at 5pm. Be sure you get there before the lights go out forever on this run of the show! Fire on Babylon plays at The Wild Project in NYC's East Village (195 East 3rd Street, between Avenue A & B). Click here for tickets!

If you missed my interview with Michael Raver about this show, click here to read it!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Tuesday
Jul122016

Adam's Call: Charles Busch: The Ultimate Playlist at Feinstein's/54 Below: An Evening Filled with Laughter, Smiles, and a Walk Down Memory Lane

Charles BuschThis past June I had the pleasure of seeing Charles Busch's newest show The Ultimate Playlist at Feinstein's/54 Below. It's always a joy when Charles and his musical director Tom Judson return to Feinstein's/54 Below because I know I'm going to have an evening filled with laughter, smiles, and a walk down memory lane, well Charles' memory lane to be exact. 

Charles has a way of captivating the audience with his stories. Whenever he tells a story, it feels as though we are seated in his living room around his fire place. He has excellent story telling skills, hence why he's been such a successful playwright. My favorite story Charles told that night was about his Aunt Lillian and how when he was a little boy, she took him in, because she was the only person who truly understood him. Though Charles was a bit rebellious at first, he ended up having a very special and wonderful relationship with his Aunt Lillian. He learned a lot about himself, life, and theatre from her. He had so many fond memories of their time together. It made me think of the great relationship I had with my grandparents, whom have passed, but have left me with a lifetime of loving memories to remember.

Charles Busch performing "The Ultimate Playlist" at Feinstein's/54 Below, Photo Credit: Maryann LopintoI also really enjoyed Charles' re-enactment of "Miriam Passman," the character who inspired him to write his Tony-nominated play The Tale of the Allergists Wife. While I've heard him tell this story in some of his other cabaret shows, it's still enjoyable to hear how he came up with the character and then developed the play around her. But what's even more fun is getting to watch Charles become "Miriam" and do a skit he used to do back in the day. What a treat to get to see a Charles Busch classic skit!

It's always great to hear Charles sing. Until Charles started doing his cabaret shows more regularly, the only time I had ever heard Charles sing was during his annual Christmas Show Times Square Angel. The first time I attended a Charles Busch cabaret show, I remember going into it not fully knowing what to expect, but I ended up leaving with a huge smile on my face from having such a good time. Since that first cabaret show, I have been excited for every one ever since. In this particular show, I enjoyed Charles' varied set list. Charles opened the show with such energy singing "Taking A Chance on Love," a great song about new love. It was the perfect opener because it is such a positive song that it automatically put me in a mood to enjoy the evening set before us.

My favorite song of the night was Those Were The Days. I remember when Dolly Parton released her version of the song back in 2005. It was full of such energy that I was immediately hooked on it. Well, Charles' rendition of this song was just as fun! He got the whole audience singing along with him and he relished in the audience's energy and excitement over the song. He did such a great job with it, I didn't want the song to end!

Charles Busch performing "The Ultimate Playlist" at Feinstein's/54 Below, Photo Credit: Maryann LopintoCharles also did a beautiful mash-up of "The Summer Wind" and "That Sunday, That Summer." Two very sad songs about lost loves, but recalling happier times of each. Charles really brought such heart to these songs. I could feel his relationship to these songs and the sadness one can feel when you lose someone close to you.

Supporting Charles throughout the whole evening was his longtime musical director Tom Judson. I adore Tom! Him and Charles have terrific chemistry together. They play off of each other very well and I love whenever they do a duet together. They sound great! 

This show made me so happy and brought back some wonderful memories for me. I can't wait for Charles' next engagement at Feinstein's/54 Below and I encourage everyone to go see him the next time he's in town!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!