I've been remiss in not mentioning The New York International Fringe Festival, which started August 10 and runs through August 26. It's a grouping of over 100 plays you wouldn't necessarily call "commercial," and yet you'd be silly to miss them all—fantastic stuff like Urinetown (one of my all-time favorite Broadway experiences) have come from this venue.
I caught Gay Camp last night. Written by Philip Mutz and Susan-Kate Heaney, it's a broad send-up of ex-gay summer camps (and, I hope, of gay stereotypes) starring a hard-working crew (Mutz, Christian Mansfield and Ken Urso) in multiple roles, including those of a six-year-old lesbian who craves "roast beef curtains," a teenage pass-around prima donna, a severely repressed and severely ambitious camp counselor and a pregnant girl so dumb Paris Hilton would sneer at her. It was fun enough, but maybe not funny enough—the writing was a bit labored and some of the gags were hit or totally miss (nobody got a rather literally recreated speech from that Patti Lupone camera-in-the-audience incident). Still, the adorable actors, especially Mansfield, were top-notch and eventually semi-sold me on the play's heart as well as its political soul.
Lee Meriwether, 77, plays 26 women in 60 minutes—those numbers don't add up!
Today, I was supposed to see The Women of Spoon River: Their Voices from the Hill, a one-woman show starring (and adapted by) Lee Meriwether. I don't know where else you'll get a chance to see a former Miss America embody 26 different women in 60 minutes, but I woke up headachey and so may have to try for one of the other two remaining performances. I met Lee at one of those autograph shows, by the way. Charming woman!
For (sometimes sexy) pictures from the rest of the plays running, keep reading after the jump...