Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What the Critics Had to Say about Naked Boys Singing

After the cast of "Naked Boys Singing" came out in towels, teased a bit and then whipped them off during the catchy opening number "Gratuitous Nudity" (a la "Comedy Tonight") it gave the audience the opportunity to check 'em out. After that, the show became more or less a typical off-Broadway revue, with nudity as its theme and a low costume budget.

- David Cuthbert, Times-Picayune, 09/06/2007

Most of us know that song from the musical Gypsy sung by one of the three strippers that begins, “You gotta have a gimmick, If you ain’t got a gimmick....” well, the musical revue currently on stage at the Marigny Theatre has not one, but six gimmicks, all of which are visible throughout the song and dance numbers performed by a cast of talented men who have the balls to let their gimmicks dangle and bounce around for all to see. And why not, I guess. Of course when one has seen as many as this reviewer (yeah I was a short arm inspector for the U.S. Coast Guard) it becomes not that exciting, but to dangle ones dingle under spotlights for about an hour and a half is quite a gimmick and a little unnerving to say the least. Nervous giggles from much of the audience, especially the ladies. And a few lesbians who may be seeing such gimmicks under spotlights for the first time.

So, Marigny Theatre and To Do Productions has another hit on its stage and this time with gimmicks. The review is directed with the touch of a master under the hand of one of our town’s most talented and professional of Musical Directors/Director Jonne Dendinger, who also designed the sparkly and witty set. There is clever lighting by Timm Holt and just a yard of so of costumes by our marvelous Mistress of All Stage Works, Donnie Jay. With this line up of front line techs one quite naturally assumes a good show will be performed.

And one is not wrong to assume such. The first act gives us several song/skits such as the opening number, Gratuitous Nudity of which the lyrics declaim, “Which you have all come to see....” and you get your first full frontal shot of extended male nudity in all its varied wobbling, trembling, wrinkled and ironed, thick, thin, long, short, fat, well nestled or not, hanging from the mid section of 6 healthy virile looking male specimens. At first it brought to mind those sex ed films shown in Coast Guard boot camp....”and now we have the male penis which as you can see
hangs above the testicles...these have not been injured by any venereal disease such as the ones you are about to see in the next view...etc. etc. But in the case of this live and on stage showing the message is one of light hearted satire and parody all about the subject at issue, the penis.

Jason George does a fine job dancing with broom and bucket, dust cloth and maids hat to the song The Naked Maid. It’s always a pleasure to see this young talented actor in the nude. He has a beautiful dancer’s body and other noticeable assets.

My favorite in this first act is the song parody Bliss of the Bris, with very funny lyrics about the Jewish ritual circumcision. The song is done with a droll sense of perfect comedic timing by Philip Gordon in a baby diaper and the cast all dressed up to resemble various stereotypical Jewish family members including a Rabbi holding a large scissors.

There is a touching song Window To Window that deals with love and yearning sung with a sensitive touch by Bryan Wagar to someone he sees and loves beyond his window. The love object is posed by Jason George.

This act ends with three other songs which are about other aspects of male to male adoration.

The second act presents us with some of the best numbers in the show, especially my favorite Perky Porn Star performed with bounce, bravura and charm by the well endowed in every aspect Philip Gordon. This is a delightful song and dance routine you won’t easily forget.

The other seven songs are all well done by these brave let it all hang out cast members which included Julius Dietze (who sings a very touching love song solo beautifully) and Jason George, Philip Gordon, Marshall Harris, Travis Resor, and Bryan Wagar. Each of these star performers has his own solo and each does it with praise worthy ability and fine singing voices. Each guy was able to do the excellent choreography very well all created by handsome Kevin Champagne. You might say they each have a moment to become cock of the walk on stage.

If you missed Naked Boys Singing! during its long run in New York (it’s still running) now you get to see a fine version here in our town. Don’t miss this show. You can brush up on your anatomical knowledge rather than your Shakespeare and enjoy some very clever songs in a professional display of naked boys singing. It’s theatre in the raw and good for you, like veggies and whole grains. It’s a fun filled frolic of bare flesh served under a cover of spicy song and dance.

- Patrick Shannon, III

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