The autobiographical plot by the multiple award-winning team of composer/lyricist Steve Schalchlin and writer/actor Jim Brochu centers around “Two lost souls who meet, two almost-losers who win” (Variety). Serious, skinny Schalchlin looks like the unlikely Prince Hal to match big Brochu, who looks and acts like a campy Falstaff. Both bring out a humanity in most unexpected ways.
Just as the sixteen-year-old Hal was almost killed by an arrow which became lodged in his face, he survived through the benefit of the best possible care, though his face was permanently marked by deep scars, proof of his valor in battle, so Schalchlin was nurtured back to life from the devastating ravages of AIDS by his life-mate Brochu. Their life, dramatically different as they are—one a young, introverted Baptist from Arkansas versus the overweight, boisterous Brooklyn boy who idolizes Ethel Merman and nurtures a hidden desire to become a priest, if not the Pope—comes together in a production that entertains as the best of Broadway shows but also takes us to the abyss of a Shakespearean tragedy. The audience at the old Plays and Players Theatre both fought tears at times but, even more often, roared with laughter in a musical that Brochu described as a piece where “If your religion is entertainment, this is the show for you.”
Thisunusual, high-energy musical play opened “'Six' in the City,” the sixth annual Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival, which runs from June 13 through 28 at multiple venues: The Arden Theatre, Mum Puppettheatre, and Walnut Street Theatre’s Studios 4 & 5. For details or to order tickets, call 215-922-1122, or visit http://pgltf.org/tickets.htm For a larger version of the show's poster, click the image at left.
Originally published, Friday, June 13, 2008
For an entertaining response to my review from"The Big Voice," click here.