Dust off your plastic tiaras and pink feather boas, ladies! There's a new show just for you and your best girlfriends. From the mad mind of Ken Davenport (The Awesome 80s Prom) comes That Bachelorette Show!, an interactive send-up of reality-TV dating tailor-made for big groups of women (and their best gays) looking for a wild night on the town.
It's about time considering that for years bachelorette parties have had to make do with Naked Boys Singing!, which, for all its full-frontal male nudity, is still a gay male revue (as evidenced by "Window to Window," a recurring love song between two men). That Bachelorette Show! has none of the gratuitous nudity of that show, but it is unabashedly heterosexual in orientation.
Granted, the show finds itself in the premier venue of a burgeoning gayborhood. The innocuously named 42West is better known by its other name: XL Nightclub, the dance floor attached to gay boutique hotel The Out NYC. As the evening advances, ushers hold back a deluge of neon-tanked boys of the night ready to invade 42West for Yolo Saturdays at XL. But until midnight, it steadfastly remains a bacchanalian celebration of single ladies on the prowl in the age of reality TV and social media.
The premise is a dating show (think ABC's The Bachelorette) to find a husband for Adriana Orlando (Miss New York USA 2013 Joanne Nosuchinsky in a pitch-perfect portrayal) following her breakup from longtime beau Giovanni Giovanni (a funny and hirsute Gianmarco Soresi). She has plenty of options: There's Wall Street tycoon Tripp Swift (Alex Fast, perfectly capturing the oily financier), surfer dude Zeke Double Moon Turtle (the appealingly beefy BJ Gruber), and even a scion of Dubai, Prince Al Zaheed (dancing fiend Douglas Goodhart). Finding the right man is the reason for the season.
"Who here's on Tinder?" asks host Malcolm Love (the appropriately sleazy Andy Peeke), referencing the popular dating application. "Remember, what happens at an off-Broadway interactive show stays at an off-Broadway interactive show."
This is definitely not the type of play for which you turn off your cell phone. In fact, the host asks us to keep them on so we can vote for a winner during several breaks when the contestants leave the stage and come onto the floor to lobby us for support with sweet words and sexy moves. Even as the contestants are whittled down to two finalists, the runners up just keep on dancing so you can boogie the night away with your favorite.
Celebrity DJs AndrewAndrew underscore these dance breaks with a deluge of top 40. They spin like Ryan Seacrest on meth: One Direction, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Ronettes, Cyndi Lauper, Justin Bieber, Vengaboys. The era doesn't matter and no song gets more than a minute before we move on.
This being an interactive show, the audience is often just as vital as the cast and crew. This is a particularly rowdy and well-lubricated one, with the bar remaining busy throughout the evening. A persistent chatter never really subsides, even when Adriana and the boys take the stage to reveal the latest round of results.
That doesn't mean they're not paying attention. When Air Force pilot Lt. Col. Tyler Peck (a wholesomely earnest Kelsey J. Nash) sent home Spanish heart surgeon Dr. Lencho (a lisping and sultry Pedro de Leon) the night I attended, he was met with a celebratory round of "USA! USA! USA!" Better than any downtown antiwar missive, That Bachelorette Show! excels at subtly teasing out the drunken animus of American militarism and exposing it onstage. Give this show an Obie!
The production value is generally competent, with Jamie Roderick offering an authentic club lighting experience. Travis Chinick's Halloween costumes are archetypal enough to do the job of giving us an immediate sense of character without the actors ever having to speak (a vital task with an audience as chatty as this one). They suffer from only one serious misfire: Inexplicably wearing an embroidered kurta and a fan turban, Prince Al Zaheed appears to have borrowed the uniform of his Malayali butler before leaving the palace for this night of debauchery in New York City.
But hey: Indian, Emirati...it's all the same thing when you're drinking with your friends and having fun, right? That Bachelorette Show! is everything it promises to be: goofy, boozy, and slightly off-color. If that's what you're in the market for, you'll have a great time.
- Ken Davenport
- New York City
- XL Nightclub
- Ryan Seacrest
- Carly Rae Jepsen
- Alex Fast
- Bachelorette Show
- Jamie Roderick
- hirsute Gianmarco Soresi
- Travis Chinick
- Joanne Nosuchinsky
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