ROBIN’S SHOW REVIEW: THE NANCE
THE NANCE, by Douglas Carter Beane, recreates the naughty, raucous world of burlesque’s heyday and tells the backstage story of Chauncey Miles (Nathan Lane) and his fellow performers. At a time when it is easy to play gay and dangerous to be gay, Chauncey’s uproarious antics on the stage stand out in marked contrast to his offstage life.
THE NANCE cast includes Jenni Barber, Andréa Burns, Cady Huffman, Mylinda Hull, Nathan Lane, Geoffrey Allen Murphy, Jonny Orsini, and Lewis J. Stadlen.
When the play opens, we see Lane at an automat, attemtping to be discreetly on the prowl for a hook-up…..although he risks jail time if caught. His pick-up target becomes a devoted live-in love interest, Ned, played tenderly by Orsini who endeavors to stick by him despite the wandering eye of Miles.
Directed by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien, it is a poignant story of life as a homosexual, and a performer at that, who needs to conceal his own sexuality, and face losing his livelihood.
Nathan Lane is in rare form. Both affecting and comedic, it’s always a delight to see him take song centerstage…but in THE NANCE we witness his strong acting chops as well. You feel his pain and joy, and we are moved. It is a bittersweet portrait and tale.
It was a treat to see Cady Huffman….who won a Tony for her performance in THE PRODUCERS…where she starred with Lane.
John Lee Beatty’s wonderful rotating set takes you both backstage and in the seats at a burlesque theater, as well as inside the cramped apartment of Miles.
Before seeing the show, I attended cocktail party for THE NANCE at the sultry STRIP HOUSE MIDTOWN (15 West 44th Street). Thanks to them for hosting! Loved the crabcakes!
For more information about THE NANCE, visit www.lct.org. It’s playing at the Lyceum Theatre, 149 West 45th Street in NYC.