Could Sunset Boulevard be any gayer?
We’ve often asked ourselves this pressing question, but little did we know that it actually could and does – most recently in the form of a limited-run off-Broadway production, Norma Doesmen.
Move over Alice in Wonderland, this 20th century American classic falls down the rabbit glory hole only to come out the other end more engorged with tongue-in-ass-cheek gayness than can be found a block away at Splash.
The production – appointed on stage with glorious antique dressings – centers around the eponymous character, a dimming (and dirty) Hollywood starlet, played unapologetically with the ferocious talent of Tommy Femia.
While the highlights of Norma Doesmen are largely limited to Femia’s campy comedic timing, moments worth getting on the edge of the seat for involve Joe Dillis’s (portrayed by the deep-voiced Bryan R. Caine) well-hung sight gags. Aside from the heat Joe is packing, Christina Giordano’s portrayal of his narcoleptic girlfriend, Betty Shaveher, often steals the spoofed schlong’s spotlight.
And yes, like Sunset, there is a sadistic German butler (played here by Ken Shepard), a character that writer and director Stephen Stahl uses as a vessel for often gratuitous scenes of drawn out clichéd gay humor.
Still, because of its homo sass (which you know we’re fans of!) and Femia’s riveting drag duplication of Norma Desmond, Doesmen should be seen by as many queer eyes as can fit inside the Abingdon Theatre.
Just take one look at what Caine stuffs into the small space midway through the play and you’ll know just how much entertainment the Abingdon Theatre Company can pack in…
Ends Sunday, March 28
Tuesday – Saturday, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday matinee, 3:00 p.m.
All seats $45 (cash only box office)
The Abingdon Theatre
312 W. 36th Street, Chelsea
Photo credit: Milton Perry