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  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Stanley in the Name of Love
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2015-08-12

This article shared 2109 times since Wed Aug 12, 2015
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Book: Mr. Margaret Svetlove; Score: The Delicious Moons. At: The New Colony at Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: www.thenewcolony.org; $20-$25. Runs through: Aug. 29

Hey, you young queer club kids who worship at the altar of contemporary pop music! If ever there were a musical written to target your demographic, then that show would be The New Colony's world premiere of Stanley in the Name of Love.

Even before the show begins, you can sashay and dance your way to your seat, thanks to the way director Sean Kelly has reconfigured the Den Theatre's main upstairs space. And then when you spot the omniscient three gay angels at the top of the show, you know you're among folks whose dream is to be backup dancers to pop divas like Beyonce, Lady Gaga or Rhianna.

Those three fierce gay angels ( Luke Michael Grimes as Angelyna, Jeff Meyer as Angelica and Chris Tuttle as Angela ) bop, undulate and sparkle with the best of them, but they have an important harmonizing vocal job of helping to prove that love actually exists so that the sun can rise again in a world that is teetering toward apocalypse.

If that sounds too whimsical, then this show isn't for you. But for those willing to take the campy and raunchy ride, Stanley in the Name of Love is a fun, poppy show that celebrates the pursuit of love ( even if the ending is cribbed from a similar denouement to the 2013 animated film Frozen ). Oh yeah, there's gay barebacking porn involved in the mix, too, so don't bring the kiddies to this proudly fairy fairy tale.

The show focuses on the title 18-year-old twink who dreams of finding true love. Stanley ( Steve Love ) and his close friend, Harriet ( Christina Boucher ), somehow end up on a porn set, and he becomes instantly enamored of the bearish Rod Fullalove ( Michael Peters ). But there are complications, not only with Rod, but his bitchy director, Burt ( David Cerda ).

All the performers buy into this strange show concept, none more so than Love who plays up his character's hopeless obliviousness and easily manipulated persona. Love is also an impressive balletic dancer with all his rubbery limbs all akimbo.

The gay angels also carry the show, since it's hard not take your eyes off them and all their fabulous attitude. Cerda and Peters are okay, although you get the feeling they could embody their roles more in terms of memorization or physical prowess.

Stanley is also an amazing aural and visual sight to see, thanks to the great pop songs ( including one that strongly quotes from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker ), and John Kelly and Cody Ryan's club-worthy flashy lighting design.

So club kids, by all means go! The same goes for those who want to see a very adult fairy tale, too.


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