Saturday, September 26, 2009

review - Naked Boys Singing

Naked Boys Singing
songs written by a bevy of
songwriters mentioned below
conceived/directed by Robert Schrock
Macha Theatre
through November 22

My first impression of Naked Boys Singing when it premiered in 1998 was that it was a forgettable show with a few good songs and of course, a few good...naked men. Now in its reincarnation at the Macha Theatre in WeHo 11 years later, I have completely changed my opinion. As I really listened to the songs and focused on the performances as well as on the bodies, I realized that this little musical about gay men has a lot to offer at the core: diverse...and perverse visions of comraderie, sensuality...and deep down, what constitutes the gay man's soul. Singing and dancing in the buff is that extra special feature, the ribbon and bow surrounding the package.

8 guys make up the ensemble, and every voice is top-notch. La creme is Marco Infante, whose rendition of "Robert Mitchum" (Mark Winkler, Shelly Markham) is so very sexy and passionate. Then there's Jack Harding whose take on "Perky Little Porn Star" (David Pevsner) is a bouncy, mobile thrill. Timothy Hearl scores cowpoke bigtime with "Nothin' But the Radio On" (Mark Winkler, Shelly Markham). Eric B. Anthony's finest hour comes with "The Entertainer" (Perry Hart & Trance Thompson) where his Ben Vereen style is a knockout. Tony Melson's best is "Kris, Look What You've Missed" (Robert Schrock, Stephen Bates), a little three act play wrapped up in one monologue in song. Jeffrey A. Johns steals with his agile opener "The Naked Maid" (David Pevsner). Daniel Rivera and Victor Tang make an appealing 'couple' in "Window to Window" (Rayme Sciaroni). "Member's Only" (Robert Schrock, Stephen Bates) is a full company comically rousing salute to one's member and all of its nicknames. "Jack's Song" (Jim Morgan, Ben Schaechter) is another hilarious group song in tribute to handling one's ----.

It's fun, it's alive and it's totally worth the memories, especially with these 8 buoyant boys under the super duper musical baton of Gerald Sternbach. Schrock as director keeps everything up...oops!, I mean bright and well, gay. As the song says, "There's no plot, but plenty of exposition". And underneath all that exposition... there's a lot of heart.

4 out of 5 stars


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