Monday, March 19, 2012

Southern Baptist Sissies

Southern Baptist Sissies
Theatre Out Denver: 2/24 – 3/24

I’m way late on this one, but don’t you be!
There’s only one weekend left so you must run to get a ticket for this reprise of the 2006 Theatre on Broadway production of Del Shores’ hilarious and heartbreaking “Southern Baptist Sissies.” There are three vets in the cast and five newbies. Reprising their roles are: James O’Hagan-Murphy (Mark Lee Fuller), Preston Lee Britton (Benny) and David Ballew (Peanut.) This first production of Theatre Out Denver is outrageous, outstanding and outstripping (yes there are two alternating strippers: Cisco Yocisco and Bobby Lindsay) its predecessor in production values and heart.  The story is about four gay boys from the Calvary Baptist Church in Dallas who are fixin’ to find love and acceptance in the Christian Charity of their conservative, myopic and homophobic Lone Star community. O’Hagan Murphy has a good grip on the narrative thread. This time his Mark Lee Fuller is less naïve and perhaps a bit more cynical than that first time he trod the boards at T.O. B. He’s been around the theatrical block a few times since that show including fine work in “Grey Gardens” at Vintage Theatre and “Some Girl(s)” at The Edge Theatre on West Colfax. As Fuller, O’Hagan Murphy gets to talk back to the preacher and then discuss the contradictions in Leviticus with the audience throughout. Preston Britton is even more outrageous than he was last time. As Benny he gets to do the drag numbers and his engagement of the audience keeps the laugh meter on overdrive. Brock Benson is brilliant in his portrayal of T.J. Brooks, Mark Lee Fuller’s guilt ridden heart-throb. It is to be hoped that we will see more of Mr. Brooks in future theatre productions at Theatre Out and elsewhere throughout the city. Todd Black gets to be the heavy in the role of the hardhearted preacher. Talk about the straight and the narrow. Lord have mercy! About the only humor given him by the playwright is in his initial scene with Linda Suttle who is reprising her role(s) as all the boys’ narrow minded and mostly sluttish moms. Stefin Woolever turns in a touching performance in the role of Andrew Thomas Ford. His delivery of the boyish anxiety required for this character is most memorable. Although the acting duet of David Ballew and Samara Bridwell as two sloshed bar flies is funny and ultimately touching, the material goes on for wayyyy too long. C.J. Hosier’s scenic design is as good as it was last time around. It’s a heartbreaker that such a fine artist, actor and friend should have passed away at such a young age. Steve Tangedal is once again in the director’s chair on this 2006 award-winning production.
Tangedal hopes that he will be able to produce the recent off Broadway hit “Next Fall” next fall. Did I stutter? Run to get tickets.
Southern Baptist Sissies plays at the Crossroads Theatre, 2590 Washington St.
For tickets call: 303-832-0929

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