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Cabaret

BenDeLaCreme’s Rising Up Into Dante’s Inferno Down Below

BenDeLaCreme’s Rising Up Into Dante’s Inferno Down Below

I must confess, and not in a catholic kind of way, because that kind of on your knees religion has nothing to do with the uproarious show, BenDeLaCreme’s Inferno-a-Go-Go currently damning us all to hell at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in Hell’s Kitchen, naturally. But it does have a lot of a lot to say about the other kind of on-your-knees kinda praying. My confession revolves around the simple fact that I do not watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, nor have I ever heard of one of the most well known contestants, the heavenly smart and witty BenDeLaCreme, the creator/performer/writer and all around mastermind of the show.  I only came to this show because one of my best friends was sitting next to me when I got the press invite, and he squealed like an excited pig when I asked him if I ever heard of a creature called BenDeLaCreme. (I can write this statement, because I’m pretty darn sure he’ll never read this review as there are just far too many words for his liking.)

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BenDeLaCreme. All Photos by Jason Russo.

I will also confess, quiet honestly, that this beautifully coifed guide, with costumes by Danial Helman, who takes through the Inferno of Dante’s creation couldn’t have been more hilarious. Throwing pun after pun, with a whip sharp razor bluntness of a pro, BenDeLaCreme offers us one of the most drag-olicious descent into hell since the original text was written (dramaturgy: Scott Shoemaker). Through inventive and witty video dioramas made by the star herself; projections (video editor: Shane Wahlund) that had me wondering if Finn Ross had anything to do with them (google the name), BenDeLaCreme ushers us through the nine circles of Hell as if we are heading down a yellow brick road to meet the grand wizard,. The music is wildly inappropriate and perfect, with original music by Major Scales and sound design and stage management by Kevin Heard. And as it turns out, Satan is no RuPaul of the underworld, but the gates of hell couldn’t have been manufactured with more laugh-out-loud intelligence and gracious crass charm, so put your hands up for Miley and sing a song of praise for BenDeLaCreme.  Religion has never been funnier, and this introduction to this brainy drag queen was pure hellaciously and heavenly quick-smart and inventive. So Burn Baby Burn, I’d be glad for another tour when you’re back in town.

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BenDeLaCreme. All Photos by Jason Russo.

For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Cabaret
@#frontmezzjunkies

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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