MvVO Art Launches AD ART SHOW
Off Broadway

Happy Birthday Doug. Grab a Drink, and Join in with the Festivities!

Happy Birthday Doug. Grab a Drink, and Join in with the Festivities!

Drew Droege. Photo by Russ Rowland.

It was the perfect way to spend a Valentine’s Day evening. Have a few drinks with a good friend (since I was flying solo this VDay), and show up at Soho Playhouse to see witty and wise writer and performer Drew Droege do that thing that he does so deliciously well. He did his duty in the very engaging and whip-smart Bright Colors and Bold Patterns when he wheeled his Rollie bag into the Palm Springs home of his ex lover and former NYC roommate/college buddy for a gay wedding celebratory weekend causing mayhem in every corner of that patio. His finely-tuned chatterbox character, Gerry, was genius, as we watch him head straight to the bar for a drink, and what desperately unfolds over that wild wasted night is an messy examination of the endless needy discomfort that many a gay man try so desperately to avoid. The setup for Happy Birthday Doug is somewhat similar in theme and neediness, but this time around it is infused with a wide variety of different tonics and flavors, all mixed strong and sharp with generous shots of sex, drugs, and escapist alcohol.

Drew Droege in Happy Birthday Doug - Photo by Russ Rowland - 105
Drew Droege. Photo by Russ Rowland.

As directed with a feisty point of view by Tom DeTrinis (Celebration Theatre’s Ravenswood Manor), Droege expertly inhabits the variety of characters with clarity and a strong dollop of the ridiculous. They have all arrived, whether Doug likes it or not, to a fancy private room hidden in the back of a wine bar in Los Feliz, LA to wish their friend, Doug a happy birthday.  One by one they saddle up, with their signature drinks in hand, casually exposing their true inner insecure selves more and more with each and every sip as they carry on a one sided convo with the birthday boy. Channeled wisely with a great sense of timing and understanding, Droege delivers these multi-flavored engagements magnificently, rubbing the self-applied veneer off for our viewing pleasure.

Drew Droege in Happy Birthday Doug - Photo by Russ Rowland - 104
Drew Droege. Photo by Russ Rowland.

It’s all fun and games, as we say, until someone loses an eye, and although that doesn’t happen exactly, some mayhem and madness starts to seep into the wine bar room, especially once Droege starts to quickly weave his way around and around the party, reintroducing us to the invited (and the uninvited). Each and everyone is pretty finely tuned and crafted for optimal clarity and fun, fulfilling stereotypes of gay men that we all recognize, while never losing the humor and the hilarity of what is happening in and around them. With individual traits on full display, the party teeters forward drunkenly filled to the brim with LA references and commentaries on everything and nothing, including addiction, attachment, gay parenting, insecurity, and far more than I can insert here.  Droege, the writer, is a wise observer, just like the ghostly presence of Oscar who arrives late to the party and tries, fairly well, to pull it all together thematically for our happy consumption.  The show lacks the overall dark depth of the breakage within the comedy of Bright Colors and Bold Patterns, but he doesn’t let us down either. Birthday boy Doug finally steps into the limelight, inserting himself into the wild ride of his own birthday gatherings. He asks to get shoved into an Uber and sent home as he is as drunk as anyone else at the celebration, but are we all that wiser due to his departing words? I’m not so sure. It’s a party that I’m not sure I want to attend, but being the fly on the wall for all the wild and wonderful shenanigans and witty Oscar Wilde asides that are served up is exactly the way to ride this Uber ride to the witty hilarious end.

Drew Droege in Happy Birthday Doug - Photo by Russ Rowland - 103
Drew Droege in Happy Birthday DougWritten and performed by Drew Droege at Soho Playhouse, NYC. Tickets and info, happybirthdaydoug.com. Photo by Russ Rowland.

For more, go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Off Broadway
@#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

More in Off Broadway

What To Watch June 3rd To Take Away The Blues

Suzanna BowlingJune 3, 2020

What To Watch June 2nd To Take Away The Blues

Suzanna BowlingJune 2, 2020
Desperate Measures

What To Watch June 1st To Take Away The Blues

Suzanna BowlingJune 1, 2020

At 6:34 Drama Desk Postpones Awards

Suzanna BowlingMay 31, 2020

What To Watch May 31st To Take Away The Blues

Suzanna BowlingMay 31, 2020

What To Watch May 30th To Take Away The Blues

Suzanna BowlingMay 30, 2020
Christian Borle, Anthony Rosenthal, Stephanie J. Block

Theatre And Music News: Are Nova Telethon, NY Theatre Barn, NY SummerStage, Broadway HD Tony Line-Up and Lucky Chang’s Joins the Virtual World For Pride

Suzanna BowlingMay 30, 2020
Drama Desk

Theatre News: New Jersey Rep Seeks Plays, The 65th Annual Drama Desk Awards, Desperate Measures, The Sound Inside, Broadway HD in June and Carnegie Hall Delights

Suzanna BowlingMay 29, 2020

What To Watch May 29th To Take Away The Blues

Suzanna BowlingMay 29, 2020