The New Century – Dazzling, Mega Production; “Howl” Docu-Drama Intrigues; Reaf ‘In The Heights’ Shows the Real Idols; Special Show at Rrazz – Slyke Sings Sedaka

by Buzzin' Lee Hartgrave on June 11, 2010

THE NEW CENTURY “A MUST SEE.” GRAB YOUR JOCK STRAPS AND HEAD FOR THE THEATRE!

BRILLIANT SNAPPY DIALOGUE IS WHAT MAKES PAUL RUDNICK’S “The New Century” – truly funny in this Century. A Jewish Matron gives a talks about her three children, who all turn out to be gay in some creative ways. Ronnie becomes Veronica, and his brother David is into scatology. The other child is a woman, who announces that she is a Lesbian, but wants to have a gender change so that she/he can meet more girls. O.K! The whole monologue is absolutely Hilarious.

This play is actually four little plays that meld together in the last act. The first one is kinda like a stand-up comic routine, but that doesn’t detract from the skilled storytelling that has you bent over with laughter.

You’re wicked, and you know that you’re wicked. That is why you are going to love the next play that starred that mad-cap over the top actor Patrick Michael Dukeman who is a spitting image of Paul Lynde. As a matter of fact Dukeman should do a one-man show about Lynde – he would be perfect. In this production, Dukeman plays a flamboyant Cable T.V. Host in Florida. He’s extremely funny, so sure of himself and is one of the most unpredictable actors that you will ever see.

His Sidekick “Shane” runs around have naked most of the time. He’s muscular, sexy and lots of fun and he runs in and out of the T.V. Studio like an Eve Harrington just waiting in the wings to get his own T.V. show on Public access. As funny as this is, the plot gets a little weary near the end of the skit. What would do wonders for the show? Tighten up! – The show, that is – not “Shane’s” body. Oh no – we would never suggest that, would we? He looks just right. Dukeman is a roaring blast of energy! It’s unbelievable! This is the comedy that you have been waiting for.

Scene three is an eccentric craftswoman who has some kooky things that she talks about. She tells us the story of her toaster that she made a Tuxedo for, as if it were a real thing. “Maybe she was waiting for it to say” “Stick your hand in here honey for a thrill.” But even if it starts out a little confusing – it gets more interesting as she talks about her son, and of course her strange little inventions.

Scenes four and five everyone ends up in a baby ward at a hospital. At first it seems a little puzzling. I was ready to cringe if I heard any babies cry. And I forgot to bring my freezer. Amazingly – all the scenes make for a wonderful, fun filled evening. The extraordinary acting is addictive. You want to invite them home with you – well, maybe for a short time.

MEET THE CAST: SETH MICHAEL ANDERSON: He plays the Toy Boy who wants his own T.V. show. I think his show could be a Hit. Dashing, young, flirty – and in spite of all that – he is a first rate actor.

PATRICK MICHAEL DUDKEMAN: Plays Mr. Charles. His T.V. show is a riot, and he is an unbelievable rip-roaring actor who is strikingly original. There is no one else like him. Why, Sarah Plain was even heard to say “Drill Baby Drill!” Of course, she was covered in Oil when she said that. He’s going to be extended by Popular Demand whether he wants to be or not.

The Ladies in the show: AMILIA MULKEY, MARIE O’DONNELL AND DEBORAH RUCKER add just the right amount of Solid Gold Fun to this rollicking evening.

AND — TRUMPETS PLEASE!!!! GEORGE McGUIRES Directing is outstanding. Who needs 3-D Glasses when we have the Technicolor world of McGuires? He’s the future for The New Century.

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and Hosted and Produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))

AT THE NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE CENTER

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-


James Franco in “Howl” Courtesy Photo

HOWL – A DOCU-DRAMA FOR THE BEAT GENERATION

PART OF FRAMELINE — “Howl” will be the climax of the intriguing line-up at Frameline. The BEAT GENERATION IS BACK, and James Franco’s stunning performance in the movie “Howl” will remain in your brain for a long-time.

I really didn’t think that I would like this movie – but I’m certainly glad and happy that I went to see it. This is about the work of the famous Poet Ginsberg, but it is also all about Free Speech. And a big part of “Howl” is a lengthy trial about what is obscenity and what isn’t. Ginsberg’s words probably sounded better coming from James Franco’s mouth than it did by the author. There was something in Franco’s performance that really reaches out and grabs you – even if you are not a fan of ranting poetry. This is an Academy Award performance if I’ve ever seen one.

The Courtroom scenes (with Ferlingetti on trial) are a little tedious – but with special graphics that fly across the screen, I was never bored. And guess what? Ferlingetti (who still owns the North Beach Bookstore that was being sued) was sitting right in from of me.

It would be hard to imagine that a movie could be made from this material, but the animated sequences make the scene changes exhilarating. Ginsberg words are a marvel to hear and especially, the great emotion that Franco brings to the words.

In the courtroom scene – Ferlingetti’s Lawyer is played by John Hamm (Madmen on TV) – he’s great. Jeff Daniels is perfect as the asshole Professor that finds everything wrong with every word. I’m sure he was a Republican.

Howl is Magical. With its dash of fantasy scenes and megawatt acting – you certainly will be thrilled by this 90-minute movie.

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-

CHECK THE FRAMELINE SCHEDULE FOR TIMES.


The Cast of “In The Heights” will end this Sunday at the Curran Theater. Photo – Joan Marcus

THE CAST OF ‘IN THE HEIGHTS’ AT PIER 39 REAF BENEFIT ARE THE TRUE AMERICAN IDOLS

The singing dancing and band playing at Pier 39 was like watching a Broadway Show. And not just any Broadway show – it could be a Tony Award Winner. But Alas, it was for “Only one Night” – and if you missed it – you missed a lot.

Everyone in the cast, the girls, the boys were absolutely stunning. The musical selections that each talented singer chose were simply spectacular! I really think that this benefit was probably the best one that Reaf as produced to date. And guess what? — The Theatre wasn’t freezing for a change!

This Cast and special guests Marga Gomez and Jai Rodriguez put on a show that would put all the American Idol shows to shame. That’s it folks. What we got here was a whirlwind of talent – THEY ARE THE TRUE AMERICAN IDOLS.

The Cast is huge and space is small – but some of the highlights were Arielle Jacobs, Isabel Santiago and the Band that included the wonderful Daniel Fabricant.

It’s a shame to see these marvelous “One Night Only” shows and know that you will never see them again. EVERYONE GAVE EXCITING, RADIANT PERFORMANCES ALL THE WAY AROUND.

THANKS GUYS! FOR THIS EVENING OF BEAUTY.

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!!

METROPOLIS NEWSROOM

JIM VAN SLYKE IN ‘THE SEDAKA SHOW’ AT THE RRAZZ ROOM

“Jim Van Slyke’s the Sedaka Show is a winner – hands down” – TheatreScene

And Rob Lester of Nightlife Exchange says: “Music is the fiber of Jim Van Slyke’s being!”

Van Slyke will be singing the music of Neil Sedaka this coming Sunday at 2pm at the Glorious and glamorous Rrazz Room. Even Neil Sedaka, who will make an appearance to sing with Van Slyke says that Van Slyke is “Just Brilliant!”

The singer (Jim) has toured through the United States and Europe and has been received with great review everywhere that he appears. He has also received the prestigious ASCAP Songwriters’ Award for the self-penned title track of his stunning debut album – ‘Open Road’. He has received many Awards in his career.

The Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko is at 222 Mason Street in San Francisco. Van Slyke will appear at 2pm. http://www.therazzroom.com/.

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Buzzin’ Lee Hartgrave

Buzzin’ Lee Hartgrave is a longtime theater critic in the San Francisco Bay Area. His reviews appear each Friday in Beyond Chron.

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