Review: ‘Queens Blvd.’

"Queens Blvd." is a one-joke farce that quickly runs out of gas on the comedic highway. Even the production's determined directing and pleasurable acting will not draw the gay audience that Paul Corrigan's play targets.

“Queens Blvd.” is a one-joke farce that quickly runs out of gas on the comedic highway. Even the production’s determined directing and pleasurable acting will not draw the gay audience that Paul Corrigan’s play targets.

“Queens” is about a gay couple mentally stuck in the pre-Stonewall 1950s. Strapped for cash, pastry-chef Frank and librarian Jules rent a spare room in their apartment to a hunk named David, then spend the entire play convincing themselves that their boarder is gay and secretly hungers for their over-the-hill bods.

Indeed, after establishing the premise, playwright Corrigan has Frank and Jules invent one meager scheme after another designed to get David out of the closet. They give him the swatch test and ask him to pick out fabric, they get up in drag, they dress up in a vain imitation of Chelsea Boy trendy. After a while, you begin to wonder how the two men can be so delusional. When their inevitable self-confrontation comes, with its heavy message of self-acceptance, it’s unbearably hokey.

Director Vincent J. Cardinal paces the show smartly and has actors filling every nook and cranny of this cliche with comic business. Steve Hayes brings a charming persona to the chef who’s come down in the world (he now works for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts), and Russell Leib and the definitively sexy Tony Meindl round out a cast that play off one another well. But despite their hard work, and an effectively hideous set from Bill Clarke, “Queens” stalls once it gets on the road.

Queens Blvd.

Production

NEW YORK -- A Joel O. Thayer presentation of a comedy in two acts by Paul Corrigan. Directed by Vincent J. Cardinal.

Creative

Set, Bill Clarke; costumes, Mary Myers; lighting, Brian Aldous; sound, Bernard Fox; production stage manager, J. Andrews Burgreen. Opened, June 23, 1997, at the Players Theater. Reviewed July 1 ; 248 seats; $ 35 top. Running time: 2 HOURS.

Cast

Cast: Steve Hayes (Frank), Russell Leib (Jules), Tony Meindl (David).
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