Entertainment » Theatre

Bawdy

by Kevin Scott Hall
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Apr 15, 2010
Jesse Luttrell
Jesse Luttrell  

Bawdy, conceived, produced and starring the dynamic Jesse Luttrell, will be celebrating its first anniversary of monthly shows at The Triad Theatre in May. It is not to be confused with a similarly titled copycat show that recently opened at Splash Bar.

This good, old-fashioned naughty entertainment harkens back to Berlin cabaret of the '30s, when cabaret was edgy and risqué. If nothing else, one is immediately captivated by the colorful costumes-or lack thereof-bold dance moves (choreography by James Bulleri) and penetrating parody lyrics (written by Rick Skye).

Fortunately, there is even more offered on the stage of The Triad, which has been tastefully redecorated since this reviewer's last visit, in sinful red with gold trim, perfectly fitting for such a show.

Luttrell cuts an impressive figure on the stage, with his legs, which reach from here to Montreal, clad in black fishnet stockings and red garters. He is an affable but mischievous host and is at his best when he struts through the crowd, improvising witty banter with the audience.

After a dancer littered the stage with glitter, Luttrell came out and quipped, "When I was born, this came out of my mother!"

He has also assembled a bevy of burlesque talents that perhaps many audience members were surprised to know still existed. Grace Gotham, dressed like a matron out of the 1950s, danced to "Tea for Two" and stripped down to black leather and tassles, revealing an S&M side that likely did exist in those days.

The angelic-looking Tansy Tan Dora, dancing and stripping to "Hard Hearted Hannah," reminded us how much fun it is to watch a good girl go bad.

As special guests, however, the standouts were Mistress B and Rick Skye himself giving the audience "A Slice o' Minnelli."

Mistress B did a number called "Naughty Balloons." As the redhead slyly sashayed across the stage, she would pull balloons out of the back pocket of her costume (black leather, thigh-high boots and corset, with mammoth-sized D-plus cups), inflate them with the nipple of corset-hard to describe without seeing it-and contort them into all sorts of perverse objects. All this was done while continuing to sing "I Never Do Anything Twice." The audience roared with delight.

Skye, for a long time the best impersonator of Liza out there, doesn't merely mimic her songs, but imagines hilarious patter that might come from her befuddled mind: "Jesse called me a year ago and has been asking me to come on the show, ever since California passed Preparation H." Or this: "When I was a child, I wanted to be an ice skater and when I was eleven, my father got me all dressed up and took me to see the Ice Cube Trays."

Skye then launched into two Charles Aznavour-inspired parody songs, one about being married to a mime, and the other about Liza's foray into cyberspace to see what the gays are doing online. Great stuff!

Bawdy has always been a benefit for Marriage Equality in New York, so naturally there would be some incisive political commentary through song.

Dorothy Bishop gave a good physical impression of Sarah Palin, singing "It's Good to be Hetero" to the tune of "Popular" from Wicked. Luttrell provided a number as Miss California Carrie Prejean.

Luttrell later got the best lines of the night with a medley of "Livin' Like a Star/Chapel of Love":

"A conservative's a guy who lives his life in a suit

He's dull but his hang-ups are acute

He has his thesis on hypocrisy

He loves his Jesus but he sure hates me

So if you act like you live inside a box

You could grow up to swallow . . . conservatism"

Then the "Chapel of Love" parody lyrics take us around the country and all the places gays can't get married ("Texas don't bless the same sexes").

Luttrell closed with a sincere and heartbreaking "What Kind of Fool Am I?", which became an anthemic cry with his full-throttle vocals and pleading, mascara-ed eyes.

While New York, even in hard times, promotes itself as a family-friendly theme park, it's nice to know that a few blocks north, Bawdy packs in an appreciative audience. Bawdy is a most welcome and diverting theatrical event that deserves a long life in our fair city.

Bawdy's first anniversary show will be held at the Triad Theatre on Saturday, May 1. Go to www.bawdyshow.com for more details.

Kevin Scott Hall is the author of Off the Charts! (2010, iUniverse) and the memoir, A Quarter Inch from My Heart (2014, Wisdom Moon).


Comments

  • , 2010-04-16 12:12:58

    BAWDY! is an AMAZING show no matter who the guest stars are. I saw it in January & February of this year and was blown away both times. The host, Jesse Lutrell, is a true professional and really has a knack for finding acts up to his own high caliber of talent. Unlike a lot of "variety shows" you see around NYC, BAWDY! is a true production with a beginning, middle and an end - and NONE of it disappoints. I can’t wait to see the anniversary show in May!!!


  • , 2010-04-17 11:20:22

    I attended in April, and wish I was free to attend again in May. Bawdy is ridiculous, and amazing, and even heartfelt for a moment or two, to remember why we’re all there. Jesse is a fantastic host, towering over everyone physically, and his talent soars as a vocalist and actor. The guests are individually entertaining, bringing their own special something to the stage. The audience, full of straight men & women, as well as gay men & women, could all equally enjoy Bawdy - so don’t sit home if you’re not a drag queen! I was laughing all night, and the energy/look of the Triad is a perfect home for this show. Congratulations to the cast & team, I really wish you the best and better.


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