Sometime in November Richard got a post card advertising the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Spectacular. How on earth did he get on their mailing list? The description of the concert is so delightful, I will quote it in full:
“It’s Christmas Eve, but all is not well. With Santa off traversing the globe, the incorrigible Mrs. Santa is ready to party, and her elves are not far behind! This year’s hilarious and heartwarming NYCGMC Holiday Spectacular tells the story of a young man’s journey to The Big Apple, the family he leaves behind, the holiday characters he meets along the way and the chosen family he ultimately builds. Featuring all your favorite seasonal songs arranged for the powerful sound of over 250 of the gayest men in New York City, this evening of sparkling entertainment is back, and it’s going to be fun!”
Too sweet for your diabetes? Is this a choir concert, or a Made for Lifetime TV Movie starring a few of the boys from *Glee*, Sean Hayes and/or Kristin Chenoweth, and the inevitable Meredith Baxter as Mrs. Santa? Maybe Diahann Carroll as the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Retire?
They describe themselves as having “a powerful sound” - - I would say “powerfully out of tune”. Or, to be more diplomatic, it’s what I call Intonation: Optional. It was especially troubling during the solos. There were about eight or ten solos from guys in the group, and only two of them were good. Out of over 250 members, this is the cream of the crop?
I will say this: they look like they’re having a good time, and they communicate that to the audience. That’s worth a lot. I know my chorus can sometimes look like we’re embalmed, and that’s not pleasant to watch, is it. The dancing twinks were cute, and though I know very little about dancing and less about choreography, I could see that some of the same dance steps were used over and over. But they were delivered with real panache! Richard pointed out that the dancing twinks were cast with the intention of “something for everyone”: a redhead, a Black guy, a Latino, an Asian, a cub, etc. I could take footage of those casting sessions and make them into a hit series on Bravo.
The headliner of the show was Carolee Carmello, the Broadway star of *Mamma Mia!*, *The Addams Family*, and *Scandalous!*. She did two numbers: she closed the first half with the Springsteen version of “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town”. She was killer, sounded fantastic and really let it fly. I was just as impressed with how she handled her hair. She has long wavy red hair, which occasionally got in her face - - when this happened she artfully threw her head back, giving a sort of Janis Joplin affect, but I could tell she was doing it to get her hair out of her face. In the second half she sang “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”, that gauzy holiday ballad. She sounded less good in this song, her vibrato was a little loose.
The shoe-horned narrative about the young man from other parts (Virginia) gave both me and Richard a bad case of RES (Repetitive Eyeroll Syndrome). The two drag queens were hit-and-miss - - Sugar Plum Mary had a high opinion of her own comedy stylings, which was not supported by the talent itself. Nothing like a smug unfunny drag queen to put a damper on things. The drag queen playing Mrs. Claus was a real pro, though it seemed a little cheap that the guy playing Santa was young and buff, and was stripped down to his candy-striped undies during “Santa Baby”. The rest of the audience seemed to respond positively, and I fully support their right to enjoy this kind of thing.