Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Now I'm a Fandrew

Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
I've already seen The Performers twice before it officially opened tonight at the Longacre Theatre. For me, this Broadway season has been pretty dull so far, and the shows I've been recommending have been off-Broadway: The Whale, The Other Josh Cohen, and Falling. But finally The Performers came along to spice up the Broadway season. It's not the most brilliant or daring play ever, but it's funny and delightful and it has Cheyenne Jackson not wearing much. Pretty much the perfect show after the rough few weeks New York has had.

The Performers is the Broadway debut of playwright David West Read, reuniting with his director of the more serious Dream of the Burning Boy, Evan Cabnet.

The play takes place on the night of the Adult Film Awards in Las Vegas. Lee (Daniel Breaker) is interviewing his former high school classmate who now goes by Mandrew Rod-dick (Cheyenne Jackson) for the New York Post. Lee is in town with his fiancée Sara (Alicia Silverstone), a schoolteacher and Fanilow.

The show has some raunchiness, but overall it's pretty tame as these are some really lovable porn stars. But I enjoyed the sweet love stories, even if they take the play in predictable directions. Read's script still surprises with some of the more random lines, which I don't want to spoil here. Ari Graynor as Mandrew's wife Peeps (short for Pussy Boots) gets the best lines and her delivery is always perfect. Jackson gets a chance to show off his flawless body in the first scene (special thanks to Jessica W. Shay for the costumes she puts him in) and to do what he does so well, play a dumb guy with a heart of gold. Breaker and Silverstone are stuck in the straight man/straight woman roles, but they do get some laughs, as does Jenni Barber as the dimwitted Sundown. Henry Winkler's role as the aging performer Chuck Wood is somewhat unnecessary, but it was nice to see him so game to make a lot of cock jokes.

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