Despite some good reviews and strong audience reaction, the musical revue Fairy Tales will close at the WPA Theatre June 22, after only 15 previews and 20 regular performances. Eric Lane Barnes' musical look at gay life began performances May 20 and opened June 3.
A source close to the production blamed the early closing on competition from Gross Indecency and other gay plays, as well as WPA's difficulty at drawing audiences during the summer. Ironically, Fairy Tales will end a week before New York celebrates Gay Pride Week.
Cast in the show are Keith Anderson, Valerie Hill, Stephen Hope and Rob Maitner. Designers include Hugh Walton (set), Jennifer Kenyon (costumes), Jack Mehler (lighting). Directing the show is Mark Cannistraro, by day a publicist for Jeffrey Richards Associates, by night a director of popular cabaret revival stagings of Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You and Vampire Lesbians Of Sodom. Choreographing the musical is Jackson McDorman.
Songs in Fairy Tales include the title tune, "Parade," an uptempo number about the gay pride parade; "The Letter Song," a comedy number about a Dear John letter loaded with grammatical errors; and a sexy tune called "Garbage." A Firefly Records CD of an earlier version of the show, staged at Chicago's Bailiwick Repertory and transferred to the Theatre Building there, has 11 songs on it -- as opposed to the current 25. Current cast-member Keith Anderson is on the disk.
Director Cannistraro told Playbill On-Line, "I think Fairy Tales has more of a heart than a lot of the other gay musical revues. A lot of others work on the principal that we're different, that gay people are `different.' The magic here is that we're universal, with similar hearts and souls and minds." Previous works by Barnes include Don Juan On Halsted at Bailiwick Repertory and The Amazing Bone at Lifeline Theatre, both in Chicago.
For tickets ($12-$25) and information on Fairy Tales, call (212) 206-0523.
--By David Lefkowitz