Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Return of Late Night Theatre: Golden Girls Gone Wild!

My friends and I follow the colorful career of local theater virtuoso Ron Megee very fact, we have nearly crossed the boundaries of good taste and become a bit fanatical about our desire to attend whatever show he's currently cooking up.  Thanks to my dear friend Ronnie, I came to know Ron's work through the original Late Night Theatre and I waxed rhapsodic about that experience in this past post.  So, of course, when we saw he was staging a drag version of the Golden Girls, well, that idea just seemed golden, right?  However, there was something different about this particular ad; a few words after the announcement that made me catch my breath.  My eyes strained to re-read those six words...did I read this correctly?  Well, damned if I didn't, there they were: The Return of Late Night Theatre.  Could it be; could Ron and his merry troupe of performers from our beloved Late Night Theatre be returning or is this merely a sadistic tease?  Whatever the answer, we snatched some tickets up post-haste.

Cress, TJ, Jeff, Ronnie, several of Ronnie's way-fun fellow teachers and I gathered last night for the big show at Missie B's in Westport.  It was already gratifying to learn Ron and company had sold out nearly all of their shows.  Tickets were soon secured from the awesome Dirty Dorothy and Ron's paramour Jon, Grey Goose was being sipped and we were ushered into the theater.  I has been in this smallish space before with Keith and the Posse (a bittersweet memory that included Carolyn before her accident), Ronnie and the BN gang and other friends and we typically caught various drag shows here. Soon, the curtain rose and the scene was alternately exciting and comfortingly familiar: a ramshackle set that definitely felt like vintage Late Night Theatre.  Finally, the Girls made their way onto the stage and they were all smashing: Chadwick Brooks did a delightfully daffy Rose, Gary Campbell was a hysterical Sophia, Jon Cupit killed as sex-drenched Southern Belle Blanche and Ron Megee WAS Dorothy in typical gut-busting fashion.  Megee gave us every hilarious Bea Arthur tic and even threw in a (much-appreciated) nod to Maude (that theme song is now stuck in my head....again).

And special mention must be made of the gorgeous Daisy Bucket whose cameo appearance outright channeled Carol Channing and brought the house down. If I'm mistaken, I believe I even spied Ms. Bucket/Channing serving cheesecake to the VIPs in the front row later on.

 Yes, cheesecake was fittingly served, because it was the Golden Girls after all.

I won't talk about too many specifics of the show though, because it needs to be experienced live, but suffice to say, it was crystal clear: Late Night Theatre was indeed back and beautifully, bawdily so.  Once again, the sheer irreverence and off-the-cuff madness had me twisted up from laughing so hard....tears of laughter streamed down my face, my sides just ached and Holy St. Olaf, it just kept coming.  Once again, if laughter is the best medicine, a Late Night Theatre experience is like a day at the spa.  Once again, sitting in the theater watching Ron and company is like we've been invited to an exclusive, anything goes performance where you can't wait to see how they will top themselves with every scene and they do every damn time. Once again, the genuine warmth and generosity the performers themselves show each other (despite their constant jabs at each other) and the audience itself brings an intimate feeling to these productions that I've grown to cherish. And speaking of generosity, this gang never forgets their community....they circulated around with buckets collecting funds for the 2014 Aids Walk after the show.

The next part, however, was a first for me.  We went upstairs and met the cast and had our photos taken with Ron as Dorothy.

 I managed to hug Ron and tell him how happy I was they were back.  I can express myself a little better when writing, so let me just say:

Golden Girls cast and crew, you were magnificent.  Ron Megee, thank you for being a friend and bringing back Late Night Theatre.  We are so very grateful and seriously can't wait to see what's next!


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