Group Presentation Transcript
TOTALLY TUBULAR GROUP PRESENTATION SCRIPT!!!!!!
Becca: Hi, it’s March 8, 2012. This is Rebecca Halpin,…
Tyler: And I’m Tyler Smith…
B: for TSTLC’s special edition of the Gay White Virtual Way.
T: I hope you’re “fiered” up for one hell of a hot show tonight. This will be an evening full of murder, drag queens, and back rooms of some of New York’s seediest queer sex bars.
B: It may be chilly as a straight man’s left testicle outside, but the “Fier’s” warming up inside our studio this evening. Today’s topic is one of NY’s most easily-recognized writers, actors, and drag artists – Mr. Harvey Fierstein. Well, at least it would have been if he could have taken a few moments out of his “busy” schedule to come to speak with us.
T: I heard he’s been working on a new film and traveling around searching for a vocal chord donor.
B: Yes, Tyler, at least that’s what he told us last night over a round of martinis. However, we are committed to bringing you the latest breaking queer news, and Mr. Fierstein will be warming people’s hearts all over Broadway this next season.
T: That’s right, Becca, last night Torch Song Trilogy and La Cage Aux Folles opened in the Great White Way.
B: I was at La Cage’s opening with recent closet-emergers Rosie O’Donnell, Jodie Foster, Justin Timberlake…
T: Don’t forget Eminem.
B: How could I? He and Elton just adopted a baby girl. It was the perfect way to celebrate their anniversary since they got together at the Grammy’s 11 years ago!
T: Thirty years ago TST and La Cage opened to mixed reviews. These certainly weren’t the first shows featuring gay couples, but they were innovative in the light in which the gay characters were portrayed.
B: Ya know, my mother STILL talks about Matthew Broderick’s performance as Arnold’s adopted son David from Torch Song to this day! She even named my little brother after him.
T: How quaint. Now, since most of you were in swaddling clothes when these shows premiered, we thought we’d exercise our talents and perform for you the abridged versions of these two shows.
"Torch Song Trilogy"
"The International Stud"
Arnold: Whoa is me! Whoa is me! Fuck you! I love you.
Ed: Hi, I’m Ed.
A: (calls Ed)
A: Hello, Ed, it’s me, honeybunch. I love you.
E: Oh, Arnold, hey! I’m really busy – I’m meeting a “friend.” She’s late. Oops.
A: Oh wow, this back room is really dark. Oh, my beer! (bends) Oh!
A: (with mic) I can’t Make you Love Me, if You Don’t. (bows)
E: Hey, Arnold. Great show. I miss you. (freeze)
A: (to audience) Do I love him enough? Enough? This is enough.
"Fugue in a Nursery"
Laurel: Isn’t this civilized, Ed? Inviting your ex-lover Arnold up here for the weekend.
Ed: I can’t believe he brought that damn kid.
E: Well, Alan, Laurel really wanted to talk to Arnold, so, I guess we’ll go sit down in the barn, or we could just roll around in the hay.
Alan: Let’s roll in the hay!
L: I can’t believe you rolled around with that kid in the hay, Ed! I’m leaving you.
Arnold: It’s OK, Alan, we have an open relationship. (cries)
Arnold: Whoa is me! Whoa is me! Fuck you! I love you.
L: That was beautiful, Arnold. I’m leaving Ed.
"Widows and Children First"
David: Hey, Ma, I’m ready for school. Ed cooked me some shitty breakfast. Ma!
A: Don’t call me Ma in from of my Ma!
Ma: So, how old are you?
M: Dear Lord, what has my Arnold gotten into? And you’re living together?
D: Yeah, what son doesn’t live with his Pa?
M: I need a drink.
M: How can you keep that boy here? You don’t know the first thing about parenting. He’ll probably turn out gay.
A: Ma, he came that way. Besides, I know how you and Dad raised me.
M: What?! You’re comparing what me and your father had to THIS? You’re spitting on your father’s grave.
A: Ma, I lied to you. Alan was murdered… because he was gay.
M: Oh, I’m sorry honey. I’m sorry.
A: You can’t make up for the past thirty years! Get out!
M: I’m going, I’m going.
And now for, La Cage Aux Folles.
T: You remember The Birdcage?
B: Same story.
T: And we’re back from those two rousing performances.
B: Ah, the memories, the memories. Do you happen to remember the original casts, Tyler?
T: I sure do, Becca. (refer to TST script)
And how about La Cage?
B: (Georges, Albin, Jacob, Jean-Michel, Anne, Mom/Dad?)
T: What a cast! So, now it’s time to check on our weather girl, Lauren, reporting live from Aruba. Lauren?
L: Thanks guys. Hey everyone! The weather here is great…A Sunny day, 90 degrees…just beautiful. Sorry I can’t share chilly New York With you, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
have quite fascinating news to report to you today.
As I was strolling along the sandy white beach the other day, I
stumbled upon an interesting establishment.
It was called the Lark Bar, and boy was it raining men there, let
me tell you. As I sat at the
bar, sipping my sex on the beach, haha, I overheard two very affectionate
young men discussing the histories of La Cage and Torch Song.
What a Coincidence!
bet you didn’t know that TS opened at the Helen Hayes theatre on June
10, 1982. It ran for 1,222 performances.
Who knew? La Cage was
similarly successful. The
musical opened on Aug. 21, 1983 at the majestic theatre and ran for 5
of the shows, written by the beloved Harvey Fierstein, were awarded Tonys
for best show. Coincidence?
1983, TST took home 2 Antoinette Perry awards, and in 1984, LaCage brought
down the house with best musical, actor, director, book, score, and
costume design – A total of 6.
Whew. This info peaked my curiosity, so I decided to do some
research on the gay climate in the 80s, when the shows were running on
bway. After all, I am the
what I found. in 1981, an established medical agency gave the first public
recognition of the disease which we now call AIDS, and discussed its
relationship to gay men at the time.
big step for gay rights was taken in 1981, when Wisconsin became the first
state to pass a statewide gay rights bill.
1982, the First International gay games were held in San Francisco, and
the term “gay plague” was coined to describe the AIDS virus, which had
by then become an epidemic.
brings us the death of Tennessee Williams, a self-proclaimed gay
playwright, famous for his Pulitzer Prize winning masterpieces.
things happened in 1984 – there was a discovery of the first probable
cause of AIDS – a huge development in treatment and a step closer to a
Wall Street journal changed its editorial policy and now permitted the use
of the word gay as an alternative to the word homosexual in the news. The New York Times, however, still banned the word gay except
when meaning happy or when in quotes.
1984, a 23-year-old gay man was beaten and drowned to death because of his
sexual identity by 3 teenagers who were later charged with manslaughter, a
crime that legally implies that they did not act in malice.
first International conference on AIDS was held in Atlanta Georgia in
1987, the national march on Washington for gay and lesbian rights drew
over 500,00 people making it the largest civil rights demonstration in US
AIDS memorial quilt was unveiled in DC in 1987 as well.
This handmade quilt spanned the size of 2 football fields, and
today contains 44,000 panels and is the size of 26 football fields.
information, filled with mixed emotion about the climate then, coupled
with the success of Torch Song Trilogy and LaCage Aux Folles, really made
me wish that I had seen at least one of the shows on bway.
However, as luck may have it, I hear rumors that both shows will be
revived on Bway in the upcoming year.
Here to give us a taste of TST are Beccah Halpin and Tyler Smith.
(Scene from TST)
T: And now, based on the brilliant critical analysis devices devised by Professor Jeffreys at NYU, Becca and I will lead you, the studio audience, in a round of our favorite game,
Both: FIND THE HOMOSEXUAL!
B: Well, as far as La Cage goes, you could toss a rock at the stage and hit a homo at any time during the production. There’s Georges, his drag-queen wife Albin, their housekeeper Jacob, all of the male cagelles…
T: Wait, don’t jump the gun Becca, statistics say that a large percentage of transvestites are really straight men. And besides, two of those male dancers are women, part of the fun is figuring out with ones. As far as TST goes, there’s Arnold, David, Alan, and well, Ed, our token bisexual.
LA CAGE REVIEW SECTION
B: But back to La Cage for a moment, Tyler. Living in New York, where everyone’s a critic, most theatre-goers can’t help but take advice from a higher source, like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other reputable newspapers and magazines. Thirty years ago, this was still the case. Here’s what those who viewed La Cage had to say about it. You might find it interesting that although homosexuality was without a doubt a large aspect of the show, it was still considered a show you could bring the whole family to! Frank Rich of the Times said, “The show at the Palace is the schmaltziest, most old-fashioned major musical Broadway has seen since Annie, and it’s likely to be just as popular with children of all ages” and mentioned the show’s “eagerness to please all comers”. Part of the reason the show was so widely accepted was because it came out in a time when most audiences and producers had lost faith in Broadway. The show was so glamourous and had such catchy tunes that audiences were happy to have some real entertainment. Douglas Watt of the Daily News agrees, “It’s a family show, and if the family happens to be gay, that’s no moment.” Many critics mentioned that it’s really a love story, and since it bears no gaudiness, vulgarity, obscenity or anything of the like, it was safe for Herman and Fierstein to write the loving couple as two gay men.
T: As much as audiences walked away loving the tunes, glittery costumes, and pastel-hued design elements, other critics, like Clive Barnes of the New York Post, found the show “too apologetic for its homosexuality. The son emerges,” he continues, “ totally unsympathetic, and you wonder why Hearn’s character of the mother has to be taught to be macho. But I don’t know too much about drag queens. Happily, I always respect plays about love.” Barnes also comments about how the musical, based on the Jean Poiret play of the same title, takes the theme of homosexuality a step futher making it a “story about personal acceptance and human dignity as well as portraying homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle.”
B: Much of the criticism of La Cage aux Folles was of the book, written by Feirstein. Frank Rich calls the book feeble. He says that “In the dialogue, Georges and Albin are presented as bland, saccharine saints – so innocent of verbal wit and sexuality that they have no sexual identity.” He also was unhappy with the dressing room dialogue between the Cagelles backstage because he didn’t feel it was racy enough. He had problems with the caution that Fierstein took. He says, “While LC may be the first Broadway musical to feature homosexual lovers, homosexuality has been prominent in other Broadway musicals (including A Chorus Line), not to mention any number of popular Hollywood movies and Bway plays.” Even Arthur Laurents voiced some concern for the younger Fierstein. He told Newsweek, “Harvey has street smarts, but he doesn’t know the world. Everybody doesn’t think it’s so terrific to be gay. Everyone uses everyone. Theater can bring out the lesser qualities in people. I’d put a lover before a hit any time, that’s the way I’ve always lived.” You know, Tyler, I can totally understand where this critic is coming from . I mean, why did Harvey have to tone down the script just to please Broadway audiences?
T: Well, Becca, maybe he just wasn’t trusting enough of his audiences to understand. But you know, you can criticize the book, but you certainly can’t criticize the two stars performances. George Hearn and Gene Barry made seeing La Cage a night to remember. Their acting was praised in every single review! Again from Mr. Rich of the Times, we read, “Suddenly, we find ourselves alone with the evening’s stars, and they insist on providing the intimacy and candor that the evening otherwise avoids. You simply won’t be able to get enough of these performers.” Critics were stunned by Hearn’s portrayal of a transvestite, and when asked how he did it, Hearn replied, “I’ve been married and divorced three times and I’ve obviously studied women closely and lovingly all my life, so I had a lot to call on.” Jack Kroll of Newsweek notes that Gene Barry “finds a dignity in his stylized swagger” and that George Hearn’s performance is “both subtle and gutsy, and it’s going to make him a bigger star than Zaza,” the character he portrays.
B: All in all, Tyler, the show sure got some great reviews. Else why would it have stayed on Broadway for so long?? My favorite review, from Daily News, reads like this: “La Cage, of course, means to be (a sure-fire laugh device), and is, with these two actors, a heartwarming love story, as well. But it’s the novelty of the occasion that will have your maiden aunt clapping her hands in glee and doting over George Hearn. Oo-la-la.
TORCH SONG REVIEWS
T- Torch Song Trilogy received a batch of mixed reviews from a broad range of written media such as TIME, Newsweek, The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal. It has been described as “too long and inconsistent,” “poignant and unabashedly entertaining,” and “the play most committed to the classic values of family and fidelity to come along in years…Without one dirty word, no nudity and not a single leer or smirk, “Torch Song Trilogy” tells us a great deal about the absurd but anguished shifts in our sexual and emotional arrangements.”
B- Really?? Did they happen to miss the butt-sex scene in the International Stud? Anyway, almost all of the reviews praise Mr. Fierstein for his wonderful performance “a living and breathing theater all by himself”, one reviewer saying, “I cannot- and do not want to- imagine anyone else playing Arnold.” As TIME said, “Like the very best actors, he does not play a part, he inhabits it.”
T- Did he ever!! The New York Post gave a glowing review, saying, “For gays TST could, with it’s positiveness, be a sort of manifesto. For straights it could be a tourist trip to an alternative country. For playgoers it’s a fun evening in the theatre, with sad undercurrents of what makes the fun funny.” I guess there was something in the show for everyone!
B – You know, my favorite review of Torch Song
was by The Wall Street Journal. Those tight-wads in three piece suits gave
had to explain to there readers what the term “drag queen”. They
explained that he was a “female impersonator, popularly referred to as a
drag queen.” I would have loved to see the look on those business
men’s faces when their wives dragged them in to see the show!! That same
review uses “homosexual” five different times, but never once
“gay.” However, Mr.
Fierstein would be proud to know that he “transcends the homosexual
emphasis of the evening and makes Arnold a person with whom everyone can