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.
At that point, Tell-Tale moved to an Off-Broadway commercial venue. Produced by Performance Associates, the show reopened at the Cherry Lane Theatre Oct. 15, after starting previews there Oct. 8. On Nov. 30, the little show that could racked up its 100th performance (including both venues). Alas, that was the last hurrah for Tell-Tale, which closed four performances later, Dec. 7.
Written by Erik Jackson and directed by Joshua Rosenzweig, the Tell Tale spoof featured popular downtown drag artist, Sherry Vine (aka Keith Levy). Vine/Levy serves as artistic director of Theatre Couture, which presented 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 took 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 designed the Tell-Tale set, with Kevin Adams doing the Tell-Tale lighting and costumes. Puppet artist Basil Twist (Peter And Wendy) 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 concerned an agoraphobic publishing sensation (Vine) who falls for a seemingly innocent pizza delivery boy (Mario Diaz). Drag performer Jackie Beat played Vine's trusted housekeeper.
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.
-- By David Lefkowitz