Though the 42nd Street Project has effectively cleaned the pornography from a large section of the Times Square area, Porn of a kind thrived in the downtown theatre district -- Making Porn, that is, the gay comedy written and directed by Ronnie Larsen.
The show ran 16 months at Off-Broadway's Actors' Playhouse in Greenwich Village and closed Sept. 14 -- just past its 500th performance -- but only to make room for another comedy, written and directed by the same playwright. Larsen's 10 Naked Men opened Oct. 16 and ended its run March 1, after 175 performances.
Why did it close? To make room for another Larsen play. Ronnie Larsen's Peep Show, directed by the author, will open March 31 for an open-ended run.
A look at the Times Square sex industry, Peep Show is unusual for Larsen because its perspective is not exclusively gay. He was quoted in an interview as saying the show was about "...the dancers, the customers, the owners. I spent a lot of time interviewing various people involved in that world, and it is really quite interesting. It was a change of pace for me because it's a strictly heterosexual world (except for the dancers, there are some who are lesbians), but I was fascinated nonetheless. The world of peep shows can be extremely raunchy on the surface...but the people who operate in that world are complex."
Starring in Peep Show are Deborah Berman, Justin Christopher, Michael A. Fox, Laura Frenzer, Pia Glenn, Steve Hunneshagen, Joanna Keylock, Mark T. Leneker, Josh Aaron McCabe, Cloud Michaels, Jeffrey Middleton and Eliza Pryor Nagel. (Both Leneker and Middleton are currently in 10 Naked Men.) Designing Peep Show are Gerard Macmillan (set), Brian Aldous (lighting) and Bosco DuChamp (costumes). Author and director Larsen lensed the documentary, Shooting Porn, (screened at the London Gay & Lesbian film festival in March) featuring people he's met in the porn industry while mounting his play in various venues, such as Seattle and Washington DC. Other Larsen projects include a musical about Robert Mapplethorpe and a play about Hollywood actors, agents and hustlers.
Making Porn was Larsen's second play (the first was Scenes From My Love Life) and he's directed it in Chicago (the world-premiere), L.A., Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Diego and Manhattan.
For tickets ($30-$40) and information on Ronnie Larsen's Peep Show at Actors' Playhouse, 100 7th Ave. South, call (212) 239-6200.