Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song
There is only one Harvey Fierstein. He is wickedly funny and insightful with the most recognizable and one-of-a- kind voice you’ll ever hear.
So, when Harvey writes a play, you make it your business to see it. One of the plays he wrote is Torch Song Trilogy. This piece opened on Broadway in 1982 at the Little Theatre, where it ran for three years. Harvey performed the role of Arnold Beckoff, a sensitive gay man who makes a living as a drag performer, yet yearns to find true love and build a family. Cut to 36 years later and Torch Song Trilogy has been re-named “Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song.” Interestingly enough, the revival is playing at the same theatre it ran in all those years ago. It too has a new name: The Hayes Theater.
Directed by Moises Kaufman, this Torch Song stars the incredibly talented Michael Urie.
Michael’s monologues are pure gems, as he is completely adept at commanding the stage all by himself. Michael is known for a number of productions, but he truly captivated theatre-goers with the long running Buyer and Cellar, the one-man show he starred in several seasons back.
But this is an ensemble piece, and working with his fellow cast mates, he shines as Arnold. Simply put, Michael Urie gives a Tony worthy performance.
Fierstein wrote the play almost as if he were writing a symphony, navigating the various movements, providing peaks and valleys of the orchestration.
The emotional high notes are hit when Arnold’s mother comes to town.
She gets to the apartment earlier than expected, and Arnold is in a panic. You see, he is in the midst of adopting a teenage son, and he is not prepared to explain this quite yet. Mercedes Ruehl is perfectly cast as his mother.
Overbearing, (and loving…in her way) she has a sharp tongue and says things that cause Arnold deep pain. Urie’s scenes with Ruehl go from hilarious to gut-wrenching and back to funny again, and he hits all the notes brilliantly.
The play itself has highs and lows, and there are some spots where the energy dips, due to just too much dialogue and repetition.
Other than that critical note, Torch Song is truly a must see. And Michael Urie is surely the main reason.
Torch Song runs through Feb. 24, 2019. https://torchsongbroadway.com/
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