Just a couple of songs into the first act of this year's incarnation of Broadway Our Way -- Uptown Players annual fundraiser -- I found myself thinking, "Gee, it's a shame that Uptown Players has gotten such a reputation as the gay theater, as if that's all they can do."
Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you -- it's just that since I moved back to Dallas a couple of years ago, Uptown has consistently put on some of the best theater I've seen. Period. Sure, the shows often have gay themes, and I'm straight, and so what? Good theater is good theater. I just found myself wishing that they could get their message to a broader audience ...
But then, during "I Know Things Now" from Into the Woods, sung nicely by Kevin Moore, out came the ... er, let's just say "sex toys" and leave it at that. I'm pretty liberal, pretty open-minded, and I suddenly felt like I'd wandered into a theater with a red light whirling atop the stage. Likewise during John de Los Santos' dance to "Call From the Vatican" from Nine. He's a glorious dancer, but the emphasis here was on skin, not what the skin was doing.
Well, there went my hopes for a "broader audience," completely gone up in the potpourri-scented smoke of some of the most clichéd of gay clichés. Urgh. With singers and dancers as good as this, can't you just let them sing and dance? When you've got people like M. Denise Lee, Amy Stevenson, Natalie King, Arianna Movassagh, Jeff Kinman and the utterly sublime Darius Anthony Robinson on stage, must you resort to hammy goofiness? Director/writer Andi Allen -- who, it must be said, did a take on Sarah Palin that nearly rivaled Tina Fey's -- just went a bit over the edge this time, I'm afraid.
"Jubilantly tacky" is one thing. "In your face lewd" is quite another, and I have higher hopes for Uptown than that.
Read Lawson Taitte's review here.
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