A comic thriller in the grand guignol tradition, Tell-Tale packed in the crowds at Off-Off-Broadway's P.S. 122 Theatre since opening Friday, the 13th (of June). Originally scheduled to run to July 6, the show was first extended to Aug. 3 and then ran through Aug. 30.
Now Tell-Tale is telling its tales in an Off-Broadway commercial venue. Produced by Performance Associates, the show re-opened at the Cherry Lane Theatre Oct. 15 after starting previews there Oct. 8.
Written by Erik Jackson and directed by Joshua Rosenzweig, Tell Tale spoof features popular downtown drag artist, Sherry Vine (aka Keith Levy). Vine/Levy serves as artistic director of Theatre Couture, which is presenting the dark spoof and has dished up such other shows as Kitty Killer!, The Bad Weed `73, and the Charlie's-Angels meets-Charles-Manson comedy, Charlie!.
Tell-Tale takes its inspiration from both Edgar Allan Poe's "Tell Tale Heart," and from the true story of Dorian Corey (of filmdom's drag documentary, "Paris Is Burning"), who kept a mummified corpse in her closet.
Marc Happel has designed the Tell-Tale set, with Kevin Adams doing the Tell-Tale lighting and costumes. Puppet artist Basil Twist (Peter And Wendy) has created special effects for the production, such as a bird named Poe, and a Busby-Berkeley style number to close the show wherein the main character is backed up by a chorus of severed body parts. The story concerns an agoraphobic publishing sensation (Vine) who falls for a seemingly innocent pizza delivery boy (Mario Diaz). Drag performer Jackie Beat plays Vine's trusted housekeeper.
For tickets ($27.50-$30) and information on Tell-Tale at the Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Comerce St., call (212) 620-4866. According to production spokesperson Ron Lasko, stars who checked out the grotesque goofiness at P.S. 122 include Jennifer Aniston, Tate Donovan, Greg Allman and Ann Magnuson.
According to spokesperson Ron Lasko (of the Zeisler Group), as a special Halloween promotion, the Oct. 31 performance will offer audiences a "Trick-or-Treat" bag of goodies, featuring such items as candy, comic books, CDs, magazines, condoms and glow-in-the-dark tattoos.
-- By David Lefkowitz