America Ferrera huddled in a back booth at B. Smith restaurant chatting with her pal, Gilmore Girl Alexis Bledel, the occasion: the 500th performance of the off-Broadway gem, Love Loss and What I Wore, by Nora and Delia Ephron based on a book by Ilene Beckerman aka Gingy. Nearby sat Nikki Blonsky, Judy Gold, Anita Gillette, Pauletta Washington (who I'd first met at last spring's Fences opening night with her husband Denzel); the fine actresses in the new ensemble held court at tables crowded with celebrants, including Ferrera's fiancé Ryan Piers Williams and Gilmore grandma actress Kelly Bishop. I have seen the play 3 times but that does not qualify me as a regular, Gingy says. Like Gingy and the Ephron sisters, enthusiasts come every time the cast changes, every month. Some regulars caravan it, Jodi Schoenbrun Carter, the Westside Theatre's associate general manager tells me: "We know them by name." So, this play is more than just a stellar theater event, it's a haven, and a happening. Ferrera, a veteran Love, Loss performer, soon to be seen in episodes of The Good Wife, would return, the Ugly Betty star says, if she can clear a month out of her schedule.
Because the work is resonant for all things girlie, especially wardrobe, it is easy for audiences to remember that special dress they cherished, that hideous hat they hated and were forced to wear by protective moms. Nikki Blonsky said she had a dress that she lost 65 pounds to wear; now her clothes are custom made. The Hairspray film star in her stage debut now wants to play, if she could only grow taller and older, Mary Poppins. Are there any producers in the house?
Meantime downtown at the Soho Playhouse production of Charles Busch's comedy, The Divine Sister, Charles Busch as Mother Superior at St. Veronica's convent is eh, no Mary Poppins. Rolling her triple lashed eyes heavenward at the shenanigans of nuns on a mission, foundlings reunited with parents, mistaken identities, lost love, guilt and sin, sin, sin, Charles Busch is his most delicious baring leg in a trim '40's pencil skirt. Joining him in this hilarious romp is an A-team ensemble of the ridiculous, Julie Halston, Alison Fraser, Amy Rutberg, Jennifer Van Dyck, and Jonathan Walker. Is there nothing left sacred?
And there's a lot of Internet potty mouth going on at the Triad cabaret theater on 72nd Street in You've Got Hate Mail, a comedy by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore. Five actors sit at computers ferociously composing email. Van Zandt is Richard, husband of Stephanie (Jane Milmore), cheating with Wanda (Fran Solgan), conspiring with George (Glenn Jones), and despising Peg (Barbara Bonilla). Get it? Well, you may think you do but behind this very funny theater piece lurk many surprises. Moral: Beware what you post.
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