Review: Leslie Jordan

Well, queens, it doesn’t get much better — or much gayer — than Leslie Jordan’s one-man show. Leslie, who describes himself as “the gayest man I know,” also claims that he was put on this Earth to be a comic scene-stealer (who met his only match playing opposite Megan Mullally on Will & Grace). This innate gift gives the fey, diminutive Jordan more than enough power to thoroughly command a stage all by himself.

He looks at the profound self-doubt that comes with growing up queer and hyper-effeminate in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the booze and drugs he used to overcome that doubt. As emotional as things might get, though, a laugh is never far off in this show. Like in the outlandish report of “how I got that role,” namely Beverly Leslie in Will & Grace: he describes his Emmy win for that role in great and hilariously self-deprecating detail. There’s plenty of dish about Hollywood: No outing – he describes John Ritter as “a great friend to the queers but a reeeaal pussyhound” – but we definitely get the lowdown on who has a legendary dick that Leslie repeatedly begs to see…and who will sue you for looking at them wrong.

This isn’t just a laugh-so-hard-you-cry look at the world through ultra-queer eyes (though it is that in spades), it’s also an often moving look at the very best and worst of what queer culture has to offer. Most moving of all, he describes how he threw all of his emotion about both his father and the lives lost in the Pulse nightclub massacre into throwing the first pitch at a baseball game. He threw with such passion that one of the pros said he could have had a career as a pitcher.

I can’t think of another autobiographical show that is more pure, unadulterated fun than Exposed! — it makes a convincing case for Jordan being one of the very greatest queer comic talents of our time.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.

Review: Buyer & Cellar

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Just about everything about this show is charming. To begin with, the underlying concept: the play is indirectly about Barbra Streisand’s “elegant barn”, the main subject of her book A Passion for Design. That basement includes a street and fake “shops” to display her collections. Playwright Jonathan Tolins was so tickled by the idea of those fake shops having a real shopkeeper that he created this one-man show about “Alex More” a struggling L.A. actor who takes exactly that job.

Then there’s the totally charming actor cast as Alex, one of my personal favorites, Michael Urie. Urie is as winsome and whip-smart as always, but he also gives Alex a glowing warmth and compassion, especially towards his demanding boss. Tolins gives him the great line “If she were a man, I’d call her a perfectionist”, which Urie delivers with wistful understatement and understanding.

While this is in large part a love letter to La Streisand, it is first and foremost a hilarious comedy, with plenty of satirical jabs at its subject, as well as Hollywood and celebrity in general. These mostly come from the mouth of Barry, Alex’s cynical boyfriend. In particular his monologue about the 70-something Barbra playing the 40-something Mama Rose in Gypsy is fall-on-the-floor-laughing funny.

In fact, this is easily the funniest, most light-hearted thing Tolins has ever written, and one of the funniest things on stage this entire season – not to mention the gayest! One hell of a lot of fun!

For tickets, click here.