DYKE DRAMAGirl's Night OUT
"It's May, It's May, The Lusty Month of May!"
-Julie Andrews, "Camelot"

Are you ready for some Dyke Drama? We've gone uptown, baby, and it looks like we'll be staying a while. Theater productions that acknowledge or celebrate lesbian themes were once stuck way below 14th Street, but no more - two Broadway shows currently feature openly lesbian performers or characters. So take yourself uptown and celebrate our visibility on the Great White Way.


1For the most electric, homo-friendly experience on the stage today, head to "Rent," the rock musical by Jonathan Larson that reconceives the artists and rebels of Puccini's opera "La Boheme" as outsider denizens of the East Village, half of whom are HIV+ and all of whom are trying to scrape through their lives with some love and decency intact. One of the show's central entanglements is a lesbian love affair between Maureen, the luscious performance artist, and her buxom lover, Joanne, who bicker in a show-stopping love duet called "Take Me or Leave Me." At the heart of their dispute is arguably the theater's most memorable phrase in a lover's quarrel: "There will ALWAYS be women in rubber!"

Don't feel stymied by the thought of Broadway prices. "Rent" holds the first two rows of the orchestra for sale on the day of performance - and sells them at the cut rate of $20 apiece two hours before showtime. The tickets are released at 6PM, but be ready to wait with the rest of NYC - the line starts to form as early as 1PM. There's a two ticket limit per person. (Nederlander Theatre at 41st Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, 212-307-4100)

2For a more sublimated, sapphic feel, check out last year's Best Actress Tony Award winner, out lesbian Cherry Jones in "The Night of the Iguana."

No stranger to Broadway or to the roles of strong, independent women who can't or won't be married-off (I wonder why . . . ?), Cherry Jones smolders behind the reserve of Hannah Jelkes, a "spinster" artist accompanying her aged grandfather through the Mexican rain forest in Tennessee Williams' classic tale of passion and shame. A disgraced priest hiding from his tour group becomes her downfall in the cheap 1940s jungle hotel where they all seek refuge from their inner lives. I feel another Tony coming on . . .


3But if you can't be bothered with the mainstream version of lesbian life (or don't want to fork over the cash it requires), stay on the prowl in the East Village and check out the girls at the lesbian-only cabaret at WOW Cafe. The new works by, for, and about women are put on by a rotating staff who contribute their time and energy to everyone else's shows in order to have their own work produced. For a modern feminist viewpoint on traditional fairy tales, check out "12 Dancing Shoes" (performances May 2 through May 4). Also intriguing is a double-billing of "Once Upon A #*%!" a collection of songs, stories, and extra surprises by Piper, and "Jersey Girls Best In The World" by Cheryl B. (performances May 9 through May 11 at 59 East 4th Street, 212-460-8067).

For just six bucks on Thursdays and $8 on Fridays and Saturdays, WOW Cafe is the theatrical bargain of the season. So grab a seat and get ready to open your mind.

See you at the stage door.



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