“I’ve never looked through a keyhole without finding someone was looking back.” – Judy Garland
I found myself over the rainbow and into the dressing room for a gender-bending variety show starring Adrian, the Judy Garland loving queen and Frankie the sapphic cowboy. After a a tragic performance of “Over the Rainbow”, Adrian is cast from the club and left to fend for himself. There, his journey begins to find his true identity and place in this hateful world.
Theatre22 has once again flexed its muscles and put Adrian and the company on their feet (adorned with ruby red cowboy boots!). Corey McDaniel has wowed for the second time this year with a beautiful character-driven show discussing the issues of identity, persecution, sexuality and delusion.
I was drawn into this show by the writing and the actors kept me wanting more by curtain call. Eric Mulholland was a stunning Adrian/Dorothy sweeping through Oz which took the form of a conversion therapy reality TV show studio. The Bible-thumping, hee-hawing family that took to the challenge of converted homosexuals into “straight, decent Christians” were led by Steve and Helen Eden (Chip Wood and Alyssa Keene respectively) and lorded over by the ominous Dr. Marvel (Lisa Viertel). Adrian’s long-time buddy and roommate Frankie (Rhonda J. Soikowski) comes along to join on this magical, and at times erotic, journey.
I was impressed at the swiftness of what was clearly a chaotic backstage which saw Pilar O’Connell and Matthew Sherrill swapping genders (and roles) left and right with the help of Michelle Berweiler and (Copious Love artist) Brandy Beauchamp. Credit is due to the costuming prowess of Cami Funk and Candace Frank, who not only designed beautiful and Oz-appropriate attire, but pulled out some theatre magic in getting them off (or stuck on!). Robin Macartney, Ahren Buhmann and Michael Hayes deserve recognition for their magnificent work with props, lighting and sound respectively.
Beautifully conceived and artfully produced, I thought that Wizzer Pizzer: Getting Over the Rainbow was a most enjoyable night of theatre! Corey McDaniel and Theatre22 really do know how to take your whole evening and make it memorable and something you can proudly share with your friends. It’s timing is brilliant after the Supreme Court of the U.S. ruled in favor of the equality of marriage as it touches both the persecution of the LGBTQ community and the idea of “We all have a place. We all have a purpose!”
Please, make time to see Wizzer Pizzer at the beautiful 12th Ave Arts Studio Theatre!
By Geoff Finney