Forget the rice, and save yourself the trouble of buying a present for the lucky couple, as you treat yourself to the theatrical gem that is “Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays.” This compilation of ten short plays and monologues will make you laugh, think, and it may even have you shedding tears as you walk down the aisle through these humorous and heart-warming stories with characters that you see on television and even in your own lives. Sadly, producers today announced the show will be closing December 18.
From the brilliantly portrayed anti-gay bigot in “The Gay Agenda,” by Paul Rudnick, to the overly-concerned mom who’s determined not to be outshone by her progressive liberal friends in “My Husband,” also by Paul Rudnick, Harriet Harris will keep you laughing and asking for more as she expertly weaves a truthful character through these moments in their lives.
Richard Thomas gives a frighteningly spell binding performance in “London Mosquitoes,” by the famous Moises Kaufman, as he eulogizes the last 45 years of his partner’s life. Thomas also gives us a very funny take on wedding vows and what the legal system and political process is doing to them in “The Revision” by Jordan Harrison.
Those were just two out of the cast of six, and I could go on about all of them. So you will be lucky to see this much talent on one stage. One of the only real criticisms that I can give this cast is the pairing of Mark Consuelos and Harriet Harris was poorly constructed. Harris outshines the funny and talented Consuelos in “My Husband.”
Each of the short plays moves us through the different stages of relationships that are affected by the changing climate of the countries views toward marriage equality and with witty poignancy points out the fatal flaws within our political system and our unequal equality claiming society. They challenge past traditions and it begs the question, is it alright to create your own form of happiness?
The premiere cast comprises Tony Award winner Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone), Richard Thomas (most recently seen on Broadway in Race), Tony Award nominee Craig Bierko (The Music Man), Tony Award winner Harriet Harris (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Daytime Emmy nominee Mark Consuelos (“All My Children”) and Emmy Award nominee Polly Draper (“thirtysomething”).
Directed by Stuart Ross, Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays includes a mix of short plays that address the on-going battle for marriage equality throughout the United States. Among the writers whose works are featured are Obie Award winner Mo Gaffney, Heideman Award winner Jordan Harrison, Tony Award nominee Moisés Kaufman, Emmy and WGA Award winner Joe Keenan, Tony Award nominee Neil LaBute, Sundance Jury Prize winner Wendy MacLeod, Obie Award winner José Rivera, Obie and Outer Critics Circle Award winner Paul Rudnick, and Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Doug Wright.
Conceived by Brian Shnipper, Standing On Ceremony began as a series of benefit events in Los Angeles, taking on a life of its own as an inspiring theatrical evening.
Hurry — you have but a few short weeks left! The show closes one week before Christmas, on December 18. “Standing on Ceremony” plays at New York City’s Minetta Lane Theatre. Visit the show’s site for tickets.
Editor’s note: The producer of “Standing on Ceremony” generously provided two tickets so we could review the show, and has been a paying advertiser on the site, but in no way shaped this review.
Caleb Eigsti is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a bachelor degree in Theatre, emphasis in Directing and Acting. He currently lives in New York City with his fiancé, David Badash, and two dogs, Text & Topher.
He assistant directed the revival of Lanford Wilson’s ‘Lemon Sky’ off-Broadway with the Keen Company, and is currently developing his first novel. His writing was featured on ‘Psychology Degree’ in their post, “50 Brave Blog Posts About Coming Out.”
With a passion for politics, photography, writing, and theatre he hopes to bring his own unique perspective to the site while searching for truth in the human experience.
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