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The Ritz


edjames
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I finally got to see the Roundabout theater production of "The Ritz" last week here in NYC.

 

This is the second revival of the original Terrance McNally hit. The original starring Rita Moreno and Jack Weston, co-starring Jerry Stiller and Kaye Ballard, was a hit comedy back in 1976. Moreno went on to win a Tony Award for her performance as best supporting actress despite her complaint that "Googie Gomez doesn't support anyone!" and should have been nominated in the best actress category. A movie was done but it didn't succeed.

 

A revival was done in 1983, oddly at the Xenon nightclub on West 43rd St, which was probably more famous for being the historic Park-Miller Theater, which became a notorious male porno movie theater! The revival opened and closed in one night. I saw one of the 14 previews. I was there backstage when Terrance McNally walked in and the production team surrounded him and asked his opinion of the show. He simply said "This is the nadir of all productions!" and left. The production team looked around, puzzled, and asked "what's nadir mean?" I had to tell them it was the lowest point! No one of any prominence starred in this production and it is probably only memorable for the appearance of legendary porn star Casey Donovan in the role of Brick, the undercover detective. Gay actor, Michael Greer, starred as camp-bath patron, Chris, and of course, Holly Woodlawn as Googie!

 

This Roundabout theater revival has a little more going for it than the 1983 production, but it seems stuck back in 1976. References to Joe Namath, Yma Sumac and other 1970 camp jokes fall flat because half the audience has no idea who the characters are talking about. Rosie Perez stars as Googie Gomez but comes no where near recreating the energy and comic insanity that Rita Moreno did in the original. It’s a tough role, Googie is supposed to be an awful performer. Kevin Chamberlin does a good job as Gaetano Proclo. It's "Frasier" alum, Patrick Kerr, who provides most of the laughs as the eternal chubby chaser, Claude Perkins. And yes, Ryan Idol (aka Marc Anthony Donais), makes an appearance as the "bath patron," and well, he’s aged into a fine looking man, but we can't judge his stage talent from the two lines he utters in this show. Brooks Ashmanskas almost steals the show as the campy Chris, however as I said, when he yells "Phone call for Joe Namath," people just stared in disbelief that Joe's name was used and surely they could have provided some more current jock hunk…. Derek Jeter, perhaps? I had to explain to my date who Yma Sumac was! God am I getting old!

 

Anyway, given that this appears to be a rather lackluster fall theater season here in NY, it was an amusing and somewhat satisfying evening of theater and if you're around, stop by Studio 54 and see it.

 

I’m off to see the delicious Will & Grace alum, Bobby Cannavale this week in "Mauritius." I followed him down Ninth Avenue a few weeks ago, fortunately we were headed in the same direction, but, alas, not together!

 

ED

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If I remember the quote correctly, it was more like "I would like to apologize to Miss Supporting Actress, whoever she is. The only thing I support in this production are my beads." Pronounced "bidz." Campy and funny. I got a real happy and supportive kick hearing that as a youngster in Colorado.

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I thought the movie version (with many of the original Broadway cast members) was a riot ... especially a very young Treat Williams with blond hair and a falsetto voice. Unfortunately, it's STILL not available on DVD! And the VHS version has been out of print for years.

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Guest zipperzone

>I’m off to see the delicious Will & Grace alum, Bobby

>Cannavale this week in "Mauritius." I followed him down Ninth

>Avenue a few weeks ago, fortunately we were headed in the same

>direction, but, alas, not together!

 

Bobby is a big time hunk. I prefer him in more masculine roles. I thought when he was playing Will's boyfriend, he really wasn't all that convincing.

 

I first fell for him in "Third Watch".

 

They low and behold, he showed up one one episode of "Sex and the City" where he was someone's one night stand. He had a scene were he was either peeing into a urinal or standing at a sink (I forget which) but he was bare assed and what an ass it was!!! Yum Yum....

 

Strange that an outtake of that has never floated around the net. Having said that, Deej will find it just to prove me wrong (hopefully)

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Overall, I'd say the reviews for the Ritz were positive and Rosie certainly should be pleased with her performance.

 

I enjoyed Mauritius and yes, Bobby looks like he's put on a few pounds recently. Nothing terrible, but I don't think he's in top toned condition. Perhaps it ws the baggy jeans, pullover top and old leather jacket he wears in his role. Still, he's got charisma and the audience loved his performance. F. Murray Abraham was flaunting a basket as he moved around in the first act. Perhaps wearing boxers, not briefs?

 

Now try to get that image out of your heads! LOL

 

ED

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  • 4 weeks later...

I saw Bobby C. the other night in Mauritius and he did a fine job. He looked better than he did in Hurlyburly, but his carotid areries are the size of ropes...not flattering, but hwat he can do about them? On tv I think they mask them better.

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  • 2 months later...

>I missed this thread when it was new, or I would surely have

>commented. Yma Sumac?!! I don't think many people would have

>remembered who she was even in 1976. She was a cult figure in

>the 1950s (and, yes, I did hear her sing then).

 

 

Thank you for the information. I'm 47 and had no idea who Yma Sumac was. I was just about to do an internet search on the name. Anyone else want to admit their age and corroborate?

 

 

Gman

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