We’ve always maintained the idea that pretty much anything performed on-stage qualifies as gay, but some things are just so gay that they require special attention. Well, this week, there are two shows worthy of your three-dollar bills.
The first is Dallas Summer Musical’s production of Mary Poppins, from gay producer extraordinaire Cameron Mackintosh. The touring production runs for the duration of the State Fair of Texas, so you can enjoy a spoonful of sugar and a get it deep-fried, too. Starring Ashley Brown and Gavin Lee from the original Broadway production, this is a lavish reinvention of the classic Disney flick.
There are quite a few new songs that stretch the running time a bit beyond normal butt comfort, but all the hits are here, too, including “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Practically Perfect” and “Jolly Holiday” that will bring back fond memories.
It’s been years since we’ve seen the movie, and you know the one thing we’d forgotten? That Mary Poppins is really kind of a bitch. And we love her for that! She doesn’t take crap from the kids, the parents or anyone. Not since Fran Drescher have we loved a sassy nanny this much.
The “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” number is perhaps the most crowd-pleasing, but also bizarre. It takes place in some weird, Poppins-approved, candy-colored voodoo shop that seems to expand the nannyverse a bit beyond South Cherry Lane. But in an extended encore, you’ll learn exactly how to spell the magical word.
And speaking of spelling (wow, we should get paid extra for segues like that), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Theatre Three is super gay and super H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S.
Local favorite Paul J. Williams brings his scathing wit and perfect comedic timing to his role as the Bee’s word enunciator and definition provider. And his ability to ad lib is a great fit for this show.
The musical numbers are funny, edgy and filled with delightfully obscure words (if you’re nerdy about vocabulary like we are). And we love any musical that devotes an entire song-and-dance tribute to erections (something we still insist is sorely missing from My Fair Lady).
So you think you can spell? Sign up in the lobby when you arrive and you could be called on-stage for one of four coveted audience-participation spots in the actual show. Spell correctly and extend your fifteen minutes of fame all the way to intermission. Don’t, and go back to your seat with a juice box and a deep sense of failure. Either way, it’s really fun for the rest of us.
“Mary Poppins” runs through October 18
Tickets $25 – $135
The Music Hall at Fair Park
909 First Avenue, Dallas
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” runs through October 25
Tickets $20 – $40
2800 Routh Street, #168, Dallas