The New York Musical Festival has brought to the table an intelligent and timely piece that is sure to have the industry talking. Miss Blanche Tells It All is set in the Golden Lantern, a gay bar in New Orleans, in the late 1960’s. We are there to see Miss Blanche (Brian Charles Rooney), who is going through a nervous breakdown. As we spend time with her she reveals more than she intended. Pete (Robert Frost) is the MC, piano player and Miss Blanche’s friend. As he introduces the star attraction, Miss Blanche arrives in a robe minus her hair, and fabulous outfit. She is in a state, but we don’t know why. As a matter of fact she doesn’t even realize how she is dressed, as she launches into her opening number “Hothouse Flower.” Half way through Lee discovers he has outed himself, and proceeds to get drunk. As his steamer trunk and makeup are brought onstage we see her transformation. We learn the truth of Lee’s past that haunts him and has molded him into Miss Blanche. We finally meet the glamorous Miss Blanche as Lee comes to terms with himself/herself. He then strips completely down back to Lee to rediscover what else is there.
What makes this so interesting is it is a cross between a Cabaret, drag queen performance and a solo show. It blends all the elements together to create a piece that is completely captivating. Brian Charles Rooney is mesmerizing and so talented. If he doesn’t win best of the fest, there is something so completely wrong here. This performance is much like Ben Platt’s performance in Dear Evan Hanson, unbeatable.
Jason Jacobs book is heartbreaking and touching. The music by Matthew C. Pritchard, and lyrics by the duo, is worth a CD so that it does not get lost in the shuffle. I can not wait to see what these two do next.
The band is hot, the actor is superb and sadly this show needs a longer run.
Miss Blanche Tells It All:NYMF Peter Jay Sharp Theater. Closed, Sunday, July 16th.