20 August 2009


Immediately prior to leaving my friend's apartment to see FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST, we came--er, stumbled--upon this picture:
from when cast members went to a launch party at Vlada. I'm still not sure if the above boys were actually in the show I saw, but the point is, I saw this picture with the understanding that it related to the show I was about to see, and said "ohhh, this is going to be so trashy!"

Trashy, in this context, was a good thing. After all, FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST is a new musical in the NYC Fringe about a bathhouse in the 1970s. If what I saw at the Cherry Lane, was more camp than trash, silly rather than seedy, it was always likable and often winning.

FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST concerns the sexually repressed Charlie (played by Ben Knox who also pulled a Meredith Wilson, penning book, music and lyrics), his sexually frustrated wife (an appealing Kristy Cates), their two children (son aspires to be a lady, daughter aspires to be a tramp), a lascivious and homophobic priest (Marty Thomas) and a pair of down on their luck bath house operators. All of these characters are drawn--in equal measure by Knox's writing, the wildly enthusiastic cast and director Holly-Anne Ruggiero--in broad deliberate strokes, as if in a melodrama. No one ends up tied to train tracks, but if they were, I wouldn't have been phased. Such broad playing really pays off in numbers like the deliciously decadent, Kander/Ebb-esque "Get What You Want" and the surprisingly musically accomplished trio "Daddy's Left Us". But for a show that seems so eager to "go there", it frequently stops short, aiming for naughty while settling for something brash but easy.

Special attention should be given to the designers, particularly the glossy, functional and clean faux tile-walled set by Michael P. Kramer and the spot on, if-she-was-on-a-tight-budget-it-didn't-show, costumes by Emily Deangelis.

3 performances remain, so check out their website for show dates/times and ticket information.

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