This Week on Stage: Theater world abuzz over 'Newsweek' piece on gay actors in straight roles
Image Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty ImagesWith Tony nominations doled out last week and relatively few new productions opening, this week the theater world was dominated by discussion of a controversial Newsweek article titled “Straight Jacket,” penned by Ramin Setoodeh, who used Promises, Promises star Sean Hayes as an example of gay actors whom he found to be unconvincing playing straight characters. The commentary led to a storm of responses from Hayes’ Promises costar Kristen Chenoweth and Glee creator Ryan Murphy, who was enraged since the article also criticized Jonathan Groff, the former Spring Awakening star who plays Jesse on his show. Both demanded an apology, as did EW’s Jeff Labrecque, in a post here on PopWatch.
Outside of the Newsweek controversy, a couple shows did open Off Broadway. First, sex columnist Dan Savage’s The Kid—a musical based off his 2000 memoir The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant—opened to a middling review from EW’s Adam Markovitz, who noted that the production’s “easy punchlines and bland songs…cling to the cheesy, cymbal-riding vernacular of the modern soft-rock show tune.” He gave it a B–. The Passion Play, a three-act, three-and-a-half-hour religious-themed drama from Tony-nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl, fared better with reviewer Melissa Rose Bernardo, who gave the production a B and concluded, “Sarah Ruhl continues her streak as one of the most surprising, enigmatic, and curiously fascinating playwrights working today.” Additionally, I reviewed the new cast of Broadway’s Tony-winning musical revival Hair, which now features American Idol alums Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, as well as Canadian pop star Kyle Riabko. The cast easily stepped into their roles, I wrote, which is a testament to a strong production that handily earns a B+.
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