re: ILLINOISE…gay-centric? (SPOILERS)
Posted by: mikem 01:42 pm EDT 06/10/24
In reply to: ILLINOISE…gay-centric? - lordofspeech 10:29 am EDT 06/10/24

SPOILERS FOR FAT HAM AND ILLINOISE

lordofspeech, when you're talking about Fat Ham, are you talking about the Broadway production that originated at the Public? I saw it in both places, and I thought that the director did a great job of making the story seem universal, where Juicy's weariness at trying to make his way in his crazy world (which is also our crazy world) was the center of the show. I saw a local production that felt much more centered on his military cousin's struggles to accept himself and to be accepted -- that local production felt much more "gay-centric" than the New York version, particularly at the end.

Illinoise's central plot is about having a crush on someone who doesn't know you feel that way and doesn't return those feelings. I think that a lot of teens (and a lot of adults) can identify with that, although some of the teens' reaction may depend on whether they are growing up in an environment where they find it okay to identify with the feelings that a gay person has. In terms of it being someone's first Broadway show, I guess it depends a little bit on what you want them to take away from that experience. The talent onstage in Illinoise is incredible, but it's not splashy. I took my cousin, who was visiting from overseas and had never seen a live play or musical before, to see An American in Paris, and he was kind of disappointed. He has no knowledge or interest in ballet, so having incredible ballet dancing didn't mean much to him. So I took him back to see Phantom of the Opera, which, despite its many flaws, has all the bells and whistles that anyone would want, and he loved, loved, loved it.
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