It takes US to make the U.S.A." Those defiant words are sung in the first act "Patriotic Finale" to the gay Off-Broadway revue, When Pigs Fly. Back in the Stonewall days, New York police weren't exactly ready to acknowledge the rights of gays and lesbians to congregate or be themselves in public.
How things have changed.
On June 26, 2:30-4:30 PM, the New York Police Department Gay Officers Action League will hold its annual celebration at One Police Plaza, with special entertainment hosted by Harvey Fierstein, of Torch Song Trilogy renown. As reported in the New York Post and confirmed by Shelley Roberts of the Tony Origlio press office, the cast of When Pigs Fly will be on hand to perform A Patriotic Finale, and there'll be performances/speeches from the likes of Nell Carter (Annie), Rosie Perez, Maurice Hines and TV personality Bobby Rivers. Also expected to attend is New York Police Commissioner Howard Safir.
The event coincides with Gay Pride Week, which culminates in the famous Fifth Avenue parade, June 29.
Howard Crabtree, creator of the critically acclaimed off-Broadway smash Whoop-Dee-Doo!, passed away five days after having completed work on When Pigs Fly. Well known for his outlandish and elaborate costumes, When Pigs Fly holds true to the Howard Crabtree tradition that many have come to know and love. Crabtree's long-time collaborator and confidant, Mark Waldrop, has said, "Howard Crabtree's When Pigs Fly really is the show that Howard always wanted to do. Against all odds he finished the costumes for it just before he died -- and they're his best, funniest, most sophisticated creations ever."
Dedicated to the memory of Crabtree, When Pigs Fly tells the tale of Howard, (a character not unlike Mr. Crabtree), who is in charge of putting together an over-the-top revue but finds himself going over hurdles and combating negative attitudes. The situation is further worsened when his high school guidance counselor keeps popping up to warn him of the pitfalls of the career he's chosen. When asked if she thinks Howard will make good on his theatrical career, she retorts "When Pigs Fly!" The show must go on and it does. And in the end, Howard follows his heart.
The show recently passed its 300th performance. Original cast-members David Pevsner, Michael West, Stanley Bojarski and Jay Rogers are still with the show, though Rogers leaves Sunday, June 29, to be replaced by James Heatherley.
Howard Crabtree's When Pigs Fly, previewed Thursday, Aug. 1 and opened Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre (432 W. 42nd St. between 9th and 10th Avenues). For tickets to When Pigs Fly call Tele-Charge at (212) 239 6200.