Monday, May 6, 2019


Tim Cummings, Bill Brochtrup, Jenny O’Hara
Photo by Ed Krieger
In the late seventies I was invited to the Circle Theatre down on El Centro in Hollywood to see a workshop production of Harvey Fierstein's first iteration of his Torch Song Trilogy, "The International Stud." Having grown up in the West: the land of heterosexuals where men were men and women were women, we were taught obliquely about homosexuals and how to disapprove of them.  It was a bit of a shock to find out that "The International Stud" was about a romance between two men.  I knew about the existence of gay people and in retrospect had been taught by at least two wonderful gay teachers, three if you count Gertrude Steinhart.  Naivete must run in my family because I just thought that my teachers were really good at teaching. Kids would use the term 'queer' to tease or denigrate another kid with no real knowledge of what the insult really meant.

Seeing Fierstein's play so long ago now brought me to an important realization that over the last many years has come to make sense to me.  As Lin Manuel Miranda famously said, "Love is love is love is love."  What Fierstein teaches us in his "Torch Song Trilogy" is that deep feelings of love and frustration and jealousy and reconciliation are human qualities. Love is universal.  The hetero world certainly holds no patent on love..nor does the homo world nor any of the other myriad of worlds we now come to acknowledge daily.  
Love is love is love is love.

Michael McKeever's play "Daniel's Husband" is not about sex. It's about love and the human experience of loving: Maternal, Romantic, even Fan love. The fact is that our currently dominant hetero world may still balk at the idea of a gay community, as we learn that Daniel's father did when Daniel came out as his gay son.  He could tolerate Daniel's lifestyle, but could not accept it. One sad lesson in the play is that tolerance and acceptance are not the same thing and the deep feelings of rejection from one's own father and the hovering helicopter of one's mother who counts herself as accepting does not make things easy for anyone.
For committed heterosexual men and maybe some women, seeing men together may be uncomfortable. On the other hand, the absolute beauty of McKeever's story rings true in a human way, a personal and loving way that makes the humanity of two guys who have found one another, certainly the essence of "opposites attract"... blossom comfortably into a tale of passions, prejudices and desires fulfilled...  and lost.  
As Daniel, Bill Brochtrup, who has aided to define the gentle well adjusted gay man with his role as John Irvin on the successful ABC -TV series NYPD Blue, brings that subtle quality expertly to the stage.  Daniel is a successful architect who has decorated his home in spare sixtes modern that includes an important abstract painting painted by his dad. Hung on the fourth wall, Daniel's partner, Mitchell (Tim Cummings), feels judged by it. Daniel's mother, open and flowing, the lovely Jenny O'Hara as Lydia, an absolutely overly supportive mom whose true love is and has been her gay son, hates her husband's painting and offers a bounty to Mitchell to make it disappear! 

Mitchell, is a writer. He has reluctantly abandoned his true love of literature for what he calls the "gay equivalent of Barbara Cartland": purple prose for a Lavender Press for a gay readership.  It makes money. He's just signed a three book deal. 

In the opening scene where we meet the boys,
Mitchell heavy handedly expresses his view that marriage is totally unnecessary for anyone. Calling a wedding a "putti-infested, Victorian-laced, curly-cue covered concept..."  his objection permeates the the scene and the lives of two otherwise perfectly matched lovers. 

Mitchell's literary agent, Barry (Ed Martin) is accused and rightly so for romancing pretty men half his age.  Snuggling on the sofa with Barry,  Trip (Jose Fernando), exposes the obvious generation gap:  fawning over Mitchell's writing and Daniel's decor, he becomes the catalyst for the unpleasant problem of the importance of marriage to Daniel and it's being unnecessary to Mitchell. 

Simon Levy's fluid direction is  subtle, allowing the progress of each of the characters room for revelations that must be indicated in McKeever's script, but enhanced by the craft of each one of the actors.

DeAnne Millais's beautiful set enhanced by perfect lights by Jennifer Edwards and Peter Baynes's complementary sound completes the picture.  The ultimate message must give pause to each of us, of any orientation, that Love is the Answer, but not always the answer that we may expect nor expect to have to live with. 

Bill Brochtrup, Tim Cummings
Jose Fernando and Ed Martin
Photo by Ed Krieger


by Michael McKeever
Directed by Simon Levy
The Fountain Theatre
5060 Fountain Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029 
Fridays at 8 p.m.
May 10, 17, 24, 31; June 7, 14, 21
Saturdays at 2 p.m.: May 11, 18, 25; June 1, 8, 15, 22 (no 2 pm perf. on May 4)
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: May 4 (Opening Night), May 11, 18, 25; June 1, 8, 15, 22
Sundays at 2 p.m.: May 5, 12, 19, 26; 
June 2, 9, 16, 23
Mondays at 8 p.m.: May 13, 20, 27; 
June 3, 10, 17 (dark May 6)
Tickets and information:
(323) 663-1525 

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