Gypsy Comes Up Roses

Lyric Stage's production has brassy bawls; lots to see at Uptown Players' Pride Fest.

Paul J. Williams is up next as Mr. Charles, Currently of Palm Beach, a noodle-wristed Florida cable access talk show host who offers lessons in gayness. How to tell if your theater date is gay? "He's saving his Playbill. And he's awake." Mr. Charles also gives us a 60-second history of gay plays, a quick flash of tour de force as tap-danced by Williams that has the audience gasping with laughter.

Lulu Ward stars in the third and best vignette as Barbara Ellen Diggs, a craft expert from Decatur, Illinois, who shares her love of macaroni art and hot-glue projects. "Crafts help me express myself ... and create something worth dusting." She also tells the story of her gay son, who died of AIDS, and her subsequent cathartic visits to Ground Zero, Christo's "Gates" in Central Park and, finally, the Century XXI discount clothier in Lower Manhattan. "It's like if Patti LuPone were a store," she gushes. Ward, wearing a Quacker Factory sweater, knits real emotion into this piece. Just lovely.

Not that you'd think of taking kids to this show, but if you do, know that they won't get the jokes and, oh, yeah, there's a naked man in it. He's Brandon Simmons, playing Mr. Charles' young "ward," Shane. His appearance in the altogether is one of Rudnick's jokes about gay theater, where gratuitous full frontal nudity is not uncommon.

Mother knows best in Lyric Stage's Gypsy, starring James Williams, Mary McElree, Caitlin Carter and Sue Mathys.
Michael C. Foster
Mother knows best in Lyric Stage's Gypsy, starring James Williams, Mary McElree, Caitlin Carter and Sue Mathys.

Location Info


Lyric Stage

3333 N. Macarthur Blvd.
Irving, TX 75062-8026

Category: Theaters

Region: Irving & Las Colinas

Kalita Humphreys Theater

3636 Turtle Creek
Dallas, TX 75219

Category: Theaters

Region: Uptown & Oak Lawn


Gypsy continues through September 18 at Lyric Stage, Irving. Call 972-252-2787. Dallas Pride Performing Arts Festival continues through September 17 at Kalita Humphreys Theater. Call 214-219-2718.

Simmons, who strides onstage in the buff con brio to roars of approval from the crowd, could teach a thing or two to the young actress in Gypsy. Ya either got it, or ya ain't, sings Momma Rose in that show. And boys, he's got it.

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Heck YEA! Brandon Simmons has got "it"!