Connect with us

BITE a Pucking Queer Cabaret

From the moment I took my seat as the pulsating tones of Ke$ha’s “Take It Off” played over the loud speakers, I knew instantly this would not be a traditional night of Shakespearean theater. Adapted and directed by Derek Van Barham, Bite A Pucking Queer Cabaret is a whimsical musical ode to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream that plays much like a frozen margarita you could get at the bar. Light, fun, silly, and satisfying for about an hour. 85 minutes to be exact. This mindless mayhem on display is heavy on the silly and firmly reinforced by thick layers of camp. After sifting for meaning through all of the senseless acts of violence that have plagued our country and community over the last month, a night of light and silly cabaret might be just what the doctor order. Shakespeare told through the tracks of contemporary artists including Nikki Minaj, Robyn, The Scissor Sisters,  Janelle Monae and Britney Spears. What’s not to like?  With capricious music direction from Jeff Bouthiette, bump and grind, titillating choreography from both Derek Van Barham & Christopher Young and a cast of almost a dozen talented singers, you’ll be glad you took a Bite too.

BITE a Pucking Queer Cabaret

The central story focuses around the tumultuous relationship between the leaders of the fairies, King Oberon (Kevin Webb) and Titania (Raymond K. Cleveland) his glamazon Drag Queen companion. From the narrator, Puck (Nathan Maurice Cooper) electric opening number, a rousing rendition of Adam Lambert’s “For Your Entertainment,” it is definitive this fairy world drew principal inspiration from the HBO mythical hit, True Blood and it’s season four carnival of fairy folk. Quite literally stumbling upon them, four mortals who wander up the stairs and become unwitting playthings for the mystics. It’s a magical and mythical game of love, lust and deception, centuries in the making. As this is a Pride Films & Play production, a curious game of sexuality hop-scotch is front and center. Girls kiss girls, boys dance with boys, girls date boys who date boys dating girls. This virtual pu-pu platter of sexual desires is more giggle inducing than in your face shocking, so feel free to bring your friends without anyone feeling awkward. Since this is a cabaret pop-rock ode to A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a definitive LGBTQ twist, the voices on display is the real show’s highlight.  Webb’s Oberon has two dynamite solos, “Years & Years” by King & “She’s My Man” from The Scissor Sisters. Cleveland’s drag persona has an early on lip-sync to Q.U.E.E.N by Janelle Monae, but gets to actually sing “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by The Mamas & The Papas at the end. With such quality vocals on display, the lip-sync could easily be discarded. Cleveland is up to the challenge to sing live, wonderfully matched, toe to toe, if not eye to eye, by Webb.

BITE a Pucking Queer Cabaret

As the four mortals, Liz (Caitlin Aase) is a red headed, gravity defying vixen, who gets a folding chair solo striptease, set to a scaled down version of “Toxic” by Britney Spears. Mia (Melanie Vitaterna) is the requisite party girl blonde, initially attracted to the eccentricity of the fairies of the forest. “Why does everyone always mistreat the pretty one” she inquires, the object of two women’s lustful affections. She gets one of the evening’s biggest laughs when it is time for her solo ballad. The first few chords of Frozen’ s “Let It Go” begins to play before she actually settles on Alessia Cara’s “Here.” Demi (Jennifer Ledesma) gets the single with the most emotional resonance of the entire evening, Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.”  Poor Demi is attracted to a woman already taken by someone else. Traveling in her wake, Lin (Will Kazda) a gay, straight guy who gets to shine during Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” while he pines for Demi and laments the fact everyone thinks he is gay. The enchanted supporting characters get to play their own version of Fairy-oke as well, punctuated by “The Night is Still Young” from Nicki Minaj. Rivals Moth (David Mor) the requisite hot guy in daisy duke cut off shorts and a harness, easily the most natural dancer of the entire troupe, and Cobweb (Jacob Gilchrist) who has a powerful voice hidden in that lanky body, teetering on Lady Gaga inspired silver platform heels, play a humorous game of microphone one-upmanship. Clearly, those who “Drink together, Twink together.” This is a show where everybody swings and sings both ways.

BITE a Pucking Queer Cabaret

Scenic and costume designer Brad Caleb Lee makes the most of the intimate performance space with minimalistic set pieces. As for costuming, there is enough skin revealed to almost qualify as burlesque, the exaggerated make up and costumes stretched to fit the apparent shoestring budget. G “Max” Maxin IV lighting and projection design impressive for the space as well.  The remaining script is full of tantalizing and teasing one liners. “You call me Queen, but treat me like Jester.” The shade is firmly on display. I must be honest, there is a naughty joke about Sheryl Crow’s music being a buzzkill that had me laughing much louder than it should have. Something for everyone, indeed. Sorry Sheryl.

BITE a Pucking Queer Cabaret

The evening also afforded Pride Films and Plays Executive Director, David Zak, the ideal opportunity to announce the new permanent home for future Pride Films and Plays, christened the Pride Arts Center in Uptown. Productions will start to play there in January 2017, but I don’t want PFP’s exciting news to pull focus from the opening of Bite. While not perfect, and purposely lacking polish, Bite proved a great deal of fun. I was not “drunk on love and fairy magic” like a few of the participating characters, I certainly enjoyed myself. If I may paraphrase from the theme song from the classic cartoon, The Flintstones, at BITE A Pucking Queer Cabaret,  “you’ll have a gay old time.”

Pride Films & Plays Bite A Pucking Queer Cabaret is now playing at Mary’s Attic through August 14, 2016

Stephen S. Best is currently a freelance writer for the Times Square Chronicles, covering the performing arts scene in the greater Chicagoland area. He has been a theater aficionado for years, attending his first live production, Annie, at the tender age of six. After graduating from Purdue University, Stephen honed his skills attending live theater, concerts and art installations in New York and Chicago. Stephen's keen eye and thorough appreciation for both theater patrons' time and entertainment dollar makes him a valuable asset and his recommendations key. Stephen currently lives in downtown Chicago.


My View: Barrington Stage Co. on 42nd Street Oct. 30 For Its Gala at Green Room 42



The evening of cocktails, dinner, and cabaret show headlined by Billy Stritch celebrates the inaugural season of newly appointed Artistic Director Alan Paul and Managing Director Lynsey Shade.

Proceeds from the Gala will benefit the Julianne Boyd New Works Fund.

Mary Ann and Bruno Quinson are presenting the event which is sponsored in part by Rhoda Levitt.  Eda Sorokoff is Chair with Violet Eagan & Rosita Sarnoff Co-Chairs

Since its inception in 1995, Barrington Stage (BSC) has produced 41 new works, 21 of which have moved on to New York and major regional theatres around the country.

BSC believes that new work is the heart and soul of theatre. If theatre is to thrive and create meaningful and new experiences for audiences, then it is vital to support playwrights and their visions of the world we live in.

BSC’s New Works Fund takes a two-pronged approach – PlayWorks supports the creation of new plays while our acclaimed Musical Theatre Lab develops new musicals. In both of these programs, BSC seeks artists whose unique voices speak to our audiences with relevant new plays and musicals. BSC hopes our new work will ask questions of the world we live in – questions that may not have answers but will begin a dialogue between the artists and our audiences.













Continue Reading


Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For October



The question would be, what to pick to go see, out of the multitude of offerings. Here are our picks for October

92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 10/1: Dr. Jane Goodall in Conversation with David Rubenstein; 10/4: Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis: Martha Stewart; 10/9: “Gutenberg! The Musical!”: Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells in Conversation with MTV’s Josh Horowitz; 10/10: Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conversation: BE USEFUL: Seven Tools for Life; 10/12: Audra McDonald: Musings through Music with Andy Einhorn and 10/28 – 30: Tale as Old as Time: The Songs of Howard Ashman

Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; Every Saturday at 7pm Eric Comstock with Sean Smith (Bass) & special guest Barbara Fasano (Voice); 10/2: A Collective Cy Jeff Harner sings Cy Coleman; 10/9: The Unprecedented Amanda Green & Friends; 10/16: Maude Maggart: “Here Come The Dreamers” and 10/23: Jamie deRoy and Friends and 10/26 -28: Karrin Allyson: “Brazilian Nights And Beyond” Feat. Vitor Goncalves, Rafael Barata & Harvie S.

Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 10/3-7: Peter Cincotti; 10/11 -14: Patina Miller; 10/17 – 28 John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey and 10/31 – 11/8: Steve Tyrell

Hailey Kilgore by Tom Lupton, Derek Klena by Jenny Anderson, Javier Muñoz by Chad Griffith, Ali Stroker by Jenny Anderson

Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St. 10/2: Lyle Lovett and His Large Band; 10/18: A Very Good+ Night of Comedy with Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Hart, Jim Gaffigan, Amy Schumer & Ronny Chieng
Special Guest D-Nice and 10/27: The New York Pops with Hailey Kilgore, Derek Klena, Javier Muñoz and Ali Stroker 

Chelsea Table + Stage: Hilton Fashion District Hotel, 152 W 26th St. 10/20: Marieann Meringolo

Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St. 10/28: Quinn Lemley

Dizzys Club Coca Cola: Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street. 10/1: Songbook Sundays: Harold Arlen

The DJango: 2 Avenue of the Americas.

54 Below:
254 West 54 St. 10/2 The New York Pops Underground; 10/2, 17, 28 and 30: Norbert Leo Butz Sings Torch Songs for a Pandemic; 10/3, 7 and 11 Linda Eder; 10/5 -6 Mauricio Martínez: 5’11” Based in NYC, feat. Linedy Genao & more!; 10/8: Little By Little Reunion Concert, feat. Darrin Baker, Liz Larsen, and Christiane Noll; 10/12: Lee Roy Reams: Uncensored! For Adults Only!’ 10/14 -16 and 23 -25 and 30: Marilyn Maye; 10/20 – 21: Lorna Luft; 10/22: A Gentleman’s Guide 10th Anniversary Celebration and 10/ 26 -28: Jai Rodriguez: A Thousand Sweet Kisses

The Green Room 42: 570 10th Ave. 10/9: Natalie Joy Johnson; 10/11 – 12, 14 -15: Candace Bushnell; 10/15: Reeve Carney; 10/17: Spencer Day; 10/19 Mamie Paris and 10/24: Dawn Derow and Sean Harkness

Sony Hall: 235 W. 46th St. 10/4:Daniel Nardicio presents Witch Perfect An all live-singing parody of Disney’s Hocus Pocus feat. Emmy-winning stars from RuPaul’s Drag Race: Scarlet Envy, Tina Burner & Alexis Michelle and 10/16: Rockers on Broadway 30th Anniversary

Theatre at the West Bank Café: 407 West 42 St. 10/14 and 28: Mark Nadler – CRAZY

The Triad: 158 W. 72 St. 

The Town Hall: 123 West 43rd Street. 10/10: A Not That Fancy Conversation and Performance with Reba Mcentire and 10/11: Alec Baldwin’s Here’s The Thing Live With Michael Wolff

Continue Reading


Santino Fontana Brings Voice, Comedy and Showmanship To 54 Below



Tony Award® winner Santino Fontana brings his tremendous talent to 54 Below and it is a show that wraps you up in his humor, charm, vocal prowess, laid back demeanor, jeopardy style musical choices and over all entertaining. By the end of the show you feel as if you know him or at least a part of him. Starting off with Charles Strouse and Lee Adams’s “Stick Around,” the night turned into a Russian roulette of material.  The audience picked numbers and as Santino put it “if you don’t like the show, it’s your fault.” First up for my show was the naughty but amusing  “Making Love Alone” followed by Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella‘s “Do I Love You,” which made for an amusing combination of songs. During Cinderella Mr. Fontana had shoes that were built up 2 inches inside and 2 inches outside, which cause a tremendous amount of pain, so the song told the story of his plight, which made the song take on a much different meaning. Sondheim’s “Anyone Can Whistle,” was sung for a Carol Burnett tribute, that luckily we were treated to.


His guest for the evening was Sarah Steele (“The Good Wife,” The HumansThe Country House) who sang “out There On My Own” from Fame. On the 14th it will be Greg Hildreth (Company, Disney’s FrozenRodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella). Click on the name and you can hear that version.

Showing off his baritone side with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “If I Loved You.” We almost got to see Santino in Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields”s Sweet Charity, instead we got hint of what that would be like with “Too Many Tomorrows.” A hilarious version of “I feel Pretty” from West Side Story lightened the mood and had the room in tears. Recreating his duet “Love Is An Open Door” from Frozen, Santino channeled Dorothy Michaels from Tootsie. Again the room was laughing with the sheer comedic genius that won Mr. Fontana a Tony Award. Bringing the energy to a calmer state was the emotional Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley’s “Who Can I Turn To?”

Vocally the most impressive song of the night was “Joey, Joey, Joey” from Most Happy Fellow. Mr. Fontana’s voice was glorious in the tones and the subtle texturing. Keeping in the ballad mode and honoring Marilyn Bergman he launched into the iconic “Where Do You Start,”while accompany himself on the piano, which was highly impressive. Back to the uptempo mode “I Met A Girl” from Bells Are Ringing, was given a rigorous, amusing take. This was his original audition song. Lerner and Loewe’s “How to Handle a Woman,” from the recent Camelot, showed how Santino would have made an excellent King Arthur.

Another favorite moment of the night was “Buddy’s Blues” from Follies. Already a personal favorite, this made me want to see Santino play this role at a later date, though personally I would cast him as Ben.

For the finale songs “The Music In You” from Cinderella, told how he and the cast loved watching the magnificent Victoria Clark perform. “This Can’t Be Love” from 1938 Rodgers and Hart musical The Boys from Syracuse, ended up in an encore, of Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones’s “They Were You” from The Fantasticks, which made my guest producer Pat Addiss extremely happy.

Cody Owen Stine

Santino was backed by his musical director and accompanist Cody Owen Stine, who played flawlessly.

Santino Fontana

Santino Fontana opened September 10th at 54 Below and you can still catch this marvelous show tonight September 14th.

This is a do not miss!


Continue Reading


Talking With Mauricio Martínez About His New Show 5’11, Based in NYC and More



I met Emmy Award winner Mauricio Martínez when he was performing in Children of Salt and have watched him ever since. He then became known for the Broadway musical On Your Feet!, but before that he appeared in the Emmy Winning TV Show El Vato NBC, the hit Señora Acero Telemundo and several Mexican telenovela. T2C talked to this prolific actor/ singer to learn more.

His new show at 54 Below talks about all the self-tape sides filling up his Dropbox. In his new show, 5’11, Based in NYC, Mauricio is putting those to good use in a musical “What If…,” sorting through what might have been. Pushing aside the ring light, you will lean more about this uber talented Mexican American.

His show on October 5 and 6 at 7pm is at 54 Below. The show feature Linedy Genao (Bad CinderellaOn Your Feet!) and Alexis Michelle (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”) and is written by Mauricio Martínez & Robbie Rozelle, with musical direction and arrangements by Brian J. Nash. Directed by Robbie Rozelle.

Video by Magda Katz

Continue Reading


Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Linda Purl Not Just An Actress



Last night Linda Purl took the audience at The Green Room 42 on a magical journey.

Linda Purl and Ryan Spahn


In 2020 Linda Purl starred as Ryan Spahn mother in Vivian Neuwirth’s Mr. Toole at 59E59 Theaters.

Ms Purl just released her fourth album of standards, This Could Be the Start. If the CD is anything like the concert this s a must have,


Continue Reading


Copyright © 2023 Times Square Chronicles