It's Pronounced Vers-ACE!

9:40:00 AM

I am coming to the slow realization that I may actually be a walking stereotype of a big gay man. (For those of you who read and don't know me, I am a woman with a sense of humor, not a man in sexual crisis.) I say this because I have seen exactly two plays this past year. The first being End of the Rainbow, sort of a cheeky dramedy about the last days of Judy Garland. The second being what I just witnessed - Showgirls the Musical. And it's exactly what the title offers, the campy script of Showgirls with added campier song and dance numbers.
I will tell you from the get go, this was a perfect night.
I got to see this with one of my best friends, Aimee and her boyfriend Evan and my boyfriend Matt. It was a packed house with mostly gay men (surprise). I had worn a very bright green top and my boyfriend is part Native American and a pretty big dude. We stuck out quite a bit! I had a moment of concern for my boyfriend, as he looked very uncomfortable. But once the house lights were down, we were all one. A united front of camp loving fanatics who did not stop laughing for a minute!
If you have never seen the movie Showgirls, you may want to see it before reading my review. I have mentioned it in previous posts. It is one of my all time favorite movies! It's not good by any means. It's awesomely bad! To touch on it briefly, it was a big budget movie starring Saved by the Bell's Elizabeth Berkley directed by Paul Verhoven and written by Joe Ezsterhas. Paul Verhoven at the time was known best for big action flicks like Total Recall. This was intended to be his lavish MGM All About Eve-esque showbiz drama infused with sex.
The acting is a train wreck, the characters are insane, most insane being it's main character - one Nomi Malone, who is a horrible temper tantrum whirlwind. Acting like a bitch to everyone she meets and yet everyone constantly wants to help her. But most of all it's a story about women written by men who think women talk mainly about nails, tits and occasionally fajitas. And always yearn to bang each other. Let me repeat - starring ELIZABETH BERKLEY. It is one of the worst movies ever made and won a record breaking number of Razzies.
Now the beauty of this stage show was that it was the most stripped down musical I'd ever seen. There was a guitar and bass player sitting in folding chairs to the left of the stage. That was the ENTIRE music section (who as it turns out, were also the show's writers!). No sets, and hardly any scenery. Maybe $200 worth of gold lame fabric and cheap wigs for wardrobe. It was perfect.
The story followed the Showgirls movie script fairly faithfully and making sure to ham up the lines for extra laughs. Done in a very similar way to the even campier stage play of Valley of the Dolls back in the mid 90's. But taking it a step farther by creating full on musical numbers from it's cast of eight. They took a few liberties here and there. Making the films' characters of Gay the female choreographer, and the snarky gay assistants' character into one glam male character named GAY was a touch of genius. Renaming Kyle MacLachlan's character "KyleMacLachlan" is another.
The songs were tongue in cheek tunes that sang like what fans commentate while watching my beloved Showgirls. Songs like 'Don't Lick That Pole Girl!' sung everything I personally ever wanted to say to Nomi Malone. Or Aimee's favorite about rape revenge, kicking ass and being a 'Whorior' - that's a whore warrior! My favorite, the 'Boat Show' song, which cut the cast yelling "boat show" with cuts of Nomi almost being tricked into hooking herself to a Japanese business man while interspersing the Styx song 'Mr. Roboto' and an actual singing boat. Like seriously, what's NOT to love!

But a lot of the credit is handed to the show's star, Ms. April Kidwell, who looked exactly like Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls right down to the tits! Not only that, but she never missed a beat. She took the over the top Nomi and with her put the screw in screwball. Lucille Ball stripping her way into Goddess at the Stardust! I also have to say this chick was brave! Showgirls is a pretty undressed flick with an NC-17 rating. The musical promises you singing, dancing and tits right on the showbill - and they freaking delivered. April is topless in the first five minutes and is in a g-string dancing at the Cheetah in no time flat. Hilariously, I might add.
Now I can go on and continue to talk about the hilarious use of characters like Molly who was mostly referred to as Black Seamstress. Or Crystal Connors who was beefed up into an even more outrageous coked out star. Or how the cat fighting Goddess dancer cast of characters were changed to the more fitting names of Mittens and Labia. But really there is only one thing left to discuss...
The. Pool. Scene. (Or Nomi's Water Seizure.)
If you don't know what I am talking about you stop it right now! Just stop it. I will not have that in my house! NO! The pool scene is one of the funniest over the top sex scenes in film HISTORY I tell you! I am giving you a chance to have a full on campy audience experience with that right now by watching it here:
So take that, and imagine it with a song about 'Underwater Sex' and a pool made of blue sequence fabric. Yeah. I know. I laughed non-stop.
It was AMAZEBALLS.

The Kraine Theater
85 E 4th St  New York, NY 10003  
(212) 460-0982

NY Times Reviews Showgirls the Musical
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