April 13, 2011

Broadway Is Such A "Drag" These Days

What is it about drag and Broadway these days?  In the current season there are three shows where the leading ladies are actually leading men and all of them have stolen their respective shows.  First, there was Douglas Hodge in the new revival of LA CAGE, for which he is likely to win the Tony Award.  The show is closing later this month, with the writer of the show Harvey Fierstein taking over the role (which I plan to catch before it closes). 

Then there was Bryan Bedford's brilliant turn as Lady Bracknell in the revival of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST.  To say Bedford is in drag actually understates the sharpness and the simplicity of his commanding performance in this classic role.  It is truly a revelation and, after the generous applause on his opening entrance, you utterly forget there is a man underneath all that fine, Victorian cloth.  This show is still running with Bedford in the role until July.

Finally, the third queen that signals the trend is Tony Sheldon playing "Bernadette" in PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT.  I caught this show last night and Sheldon's take on the over the hill drag going for one last shot of glittery glory is spot-on.  He has a way with delivery which has the audience cracking up before he's even spoken a syllable.  All he needs to do is arch an eyebrow or shift his weight to one leg and that's it--scene over.  The show itself is not great, unlike LA CAGE or EARNEST, but Sheldon keeps you interested and keeps you laughing up until the crazy curtain call.  

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