Sign up for our PoliticsNY newsletter for the latest coverage and to stay informed about the elections in your district and across NYC. Hal and Dennis have robbed a bank by breaking through the wall from the funeral parlor where Dennis works. In the end, everyone is shown as corrupt and the innocent end up the accused. Written with bitter, merciless wit, the play, for all its dark subject matter, is consistently hilarious, even as it intends to be offensive. The new production of the play mounted by Red Bull Theater couches the inherent horror of the situation in stylized performances that underscore the satire and create a very specific theatricality.
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By Elisabeth Vincentelli. It was possible to be gay at Harvard in , but it was risky. You get the feeling the students were somewhat able to enjoy their sexuality within a restrictive environment. His circle includes Edward Say Jess Burkle , portrayed here as a bitchy queen; Stanley Gilkey Max Jenkins , a sassy, silver-tongued sophomore; and Kenneth Day Roe Hartrampf , an object of desire whose hunky body is fully revealed as he towels off — the cheeseball scene looks lifted from a s male-physique magazine. A mix of arrogance and youthful hormones may explain why Roberts brazenly held amped-up, boozed-up gay bacchanals in his dorm room.
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Based on actual events of the s, the show focuses on the fallout from Harvard student Cyril Wilcox's suicide. After this young man's death, letters revealed that he had been part of a cadre of gay men, and the Harvard administration, hoping to avoid embarrassment, proceeded to track down and expel his companions in what amounted to an early 20th-century witch hunt. The episodic play takes theatergoers squarely into the rarified environs of the school elegantly indicated in Walt Spangler's spare scenic design and introduces 11 of Cyril's surviving friends, who range from Ernest Roberts Nick Westrate , a congressman's son who hosts gay bacchanals in his dorm room, to Keith Smerage Frank De Julio , a transfer student from Tufts who feels like an outsider because of his less-than-exceptional background. There's something appealing about all of the men, their affection for one another, and the ways in which they struggle with their identity at a time when homosexuality was a societal taboo. Once the correspondence has come to light, the administration demands that they name names, destroying both close-knit and tenuous relationships as well as reputations.
This intermittent, quiet enchantment is generated by men who otherwise tend to obstreperousness. But put any one of them in front of a mirror, with a tube of lipstick and some eyeliner, and he falls into a wordless rapture, as silent and luminous as a newly lighted candle. Fierstein has dealt with similar material before. But the central characters in those earlier works were gay. Or so they say, and mostly you have no reason to doubt them.