Tom Judson, a.k.a. gay porn star Gus Mattox, proves to be a man of many talents in his entertaining autobiographical solo.
The autobiographical show, directed by Kevin Malony, tells the story of how a 42-year-old struggling actor became a gay porn sensation. Along the way, we learn about such subjects as his partner, Bruce, whom he lost to AIDS; Judson's work as a composer and performer in the downtown theater scene of the 1980s and early 90s; the actor's time in the touring companies of the Broadway musicals Cabaret and 42nd Street; his stints as a male hustler, where he says he often "felt more like a social worker than a prostitute"; being discovered by gay porn director Chi Chi LaRue; a variety of truths and myths about the porn business; Judson's unlikely but surprisingly successful post-porn career as a house renovator; and his inability to dance -- which becomes a recurring joke within the production.
Oddly enough, the writer/performer doesn't divulge much about his childhood and family life, other than the fact that he grew up Presbyterian. We also never hear how he came to learn to play the diverse range of musical instruments that he has up on stage with him. Over the course of the evening, Judson plays the accordion, French horn, trombone, tenor sax, alto sax, euphonium, concertina, clarinet, triangle, trumpet, and piano. In a tour de force turn, he even plays the instruments in quick succession as he imagines a re-orchestration of one of the songs that he composed for the 1990 film, Metropolitan.
Judson is a charming storyteller, with a wonderfully charismatic smile. However, since his narrative skips around in time so much, the transitions don't always work as well as they could. Additionally, while he often has a good sense of comic timing, some of his jokes still fail to land, and the overall pacing of the show could use some tightening.