29
Oct
07

THE RITZ

1975 was just about the time when addressing sexuality in public became almost politically acceptable and no one did it more outrageously than Terrence McNally in his Broadway hit musical “The Ritz”. He set his stage in a gay bathhouse in Manhattan where mostly naked men strutted around in mini bath towels, touching one another and baring more than just their chests.

The concept at the time was daring because it wasn’t common that homosexuality was discussed openly and outwardly, let alone acted out, live and in our faces. In 1975 this was a new idea and must have received shocking reviews, but now the concept is kind of old and played out.

Nothing about gay, naked men is shocking on Broadway anymore, especially after “Take Me Out” won the TONY in 2003 and shows like Spring Awakening, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and History Boys put sex, nudity and sexual abuse, in our faces.

Back in the day, I’m sure “The Ritz” was an over the top comedy where the lead character needed to hide from his mobster Brother-in-Law, and ended up at the gay bathhouse. Here he found himself sexually assaulted by the men at bathhouse as well as the one woman who resides there as the entertainment.

In today’s version of “The Ritz,” the Latino female entertainer is Rosie Perez, and due to her high pitched vocal tone and her fast paced speaking, she was extremely difficult to understand. Both Latino women and homosexual men are completely clichéd in this production and due to the recurrent nature of the homosexual theme; the show was a bit dated.

I would have liked to have seen the original back in the day because I’m sure I would have been stunned out of my seat, but this week in 2007 I was a bit bored, thought I was hard of hearing due to the fast paced yelling, and door slamming and was hoping to get more laughs out of the played out antics.


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