Drama Club

THEATER: Larry Kramer Bitchslaps Babs; Magic Mike Broadway Bound; Exorcist Live On Stage!

Theater Queens, welcome to Queerty’s new weekly column on all that’s happening in the très gay world of Drama with a Capital D. Every Thursday, it’s curtain up, light the lights on the wild week of Broadway and beyond.

Gay icon and much mimicked hair-fixer, Cher, is writing a Broadway bound musical autobiography spanning from her Sonny and Cher years right up to this very second. Naturally, it’ll incorporate the ditties that have dotted her life. (If she could turn back time, do you believe she’ll sing “I’ve Got You, Babe” with Broadway’s gypsies, tramps and thieves?) The stage version will have three actresses playing Cher: in her Sonny years, her “Believe” years, and Cher now. In the conceit, her three selves chat with each other. Perhaps she’ll make up a Little Shop-style girl group! One suggestion, Cher darling: play yourself. Sales will hit the roof! [Playbill]

Speaking of gay divas, marvelously crotchety activist and playwright Larry Kramer has never been one to mince words when his feathers get ruffled. Not even Barbra Streisand gets spared. Babs optioned the film rights to Kramer’s AIDS-era masterwork, the play “The Normal Heart,” back in 1986, but she sat on it for years. The play won the 2011 Tony for Best Revival, and will now be made into a star-studded film by Glee creator Ryan Murphy. When the play recently opened in Washington D.C. to raves, and Kramer informed Babs about it, she sent Kramer an email saying, “Why make me sad that I’m not directing your wonderful play??” Kramer’s response to her is F-I-E-R-C-E. Excerpts:

Dear Barbra . . . My fellow warrior against good and evil, all those many years you could have directed it — what happened to all that time? When your options lapsed, I said you could buy it for a million dollars and do whatever you wanted with it . . . You kept telling me I wanted too much money. I kept telling you this is my only asset to sell and live on for the rest of my life. (AIDS activists don’t make much money.) You couldn’t tell me what you didn’t like about my screenplays. (God knows I wrote enough drafts for you.)

“Ryan has wonderful ideas that jell and enhance my work. You said you couldn’t get financing. He has his financing. He said if he couldn’t get it, he’d finance it himself. (You chose to remodel and redecorate your houses.) This is a man whose driving passion to make this movie is extraordinary.

“I guess it wasn’t meant to be. You had other movies and tours to make first. I sat back with increasing sadness as I watched you (often at the last minute) choose something else to do . . . This is not a person with quite the same burning passion to make it as you always claim…

Wow. Gotta love a queen willing to rip Babs a new one. [New York Post]

Male Showgirls flick Magic Mike opens in theaters today. The celluloid hasn’t even cooled, and word’s out than a Broadway musical version is in the works. Doesn’t that more or less already exist in Broadway Bares? “We are working on it as a Broadway show, which would be a different story, more of a romp, more of a fun night out at a club with a story,” says Reid Carolin, who wrote the screenplay and is working on the stage version. “I’m almost more excited about that than the movie because I think it’s the perfect thing for women to go see on Broadway, to be participants in the show.” Uhhhhh…does Carolin have any concept that it’s the gay men who’ll be lining up in droves? The squealing mobs of bachlorettes come later to ruin the fun. [THR]

In related news, Magic Mike star Alex Pettyfer claims he’d “absolutely” strip before a live audience in the Broadway version. (We’re waiting breathlessly at the theater doors now.) “I think we should all do the opening night,” he said about his co-stars Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer. The man must have no idea how theater works if he’s gonna go through rehearsals just for opening night, then leave the real cast to perform. If this group of Grade-A Hollywood beefcake did strip on the Gay White Way (in your dreams), we wonder if they’d go, er, the Full Monty. [THR]

Theatrical powerhouse Nathan Lane is slated to come back to Broadway next year in sassy playwright Douglas Carter Beane’s newest piece, The Nance. The play revolves around a long forgotten, but hugely popular burlesque staple from the ’20s and ’30s, the wildly effeminate homosexual male called the nancy boy. Directed by Jack O’Brien (Hairspray) and presented by Lincoln Center Theater, the play already feels like a perfect match for Lane’s unrivaled comedic gifts, along with being a fascinating frolic through a never-discussed chapter in gay history. [NYTimes]

The Exorcist? Live on Stage? It’s happening at The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, with performances starting July 3. The theatrical retelling of an adolescent girl possessed by a demon will star Brooke Shields as her beleaguered mother and legendary Richard Chamberlain as the priest who arrives armed with holy water and prayer. Mercifully, the stage version is not trying to recreate the film–don’t expect magic tricks with spinning heads and flying green vomit. Playwright John Pielmeier (Agnes of God) is aiming to tackle greater themes of crisis of faith. We’ll have to see what director John Doyle (who led the recent Broadway revivals of Sweeney Todd and Company) does with it. Doyle is best known for his gimmick of actors playing their own musical instruments. He’s up to similar theatrical tricks here, casting an adult actor (why??) to play the possessed young girl. But will it be scary?!

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