in Provincetown: Patti LuPone, Sandra Bernhard, Christine Ebersole and More Perform By the Sea

By Ben Rimalower
03 Jul 2013

Ben Rimalower
Ben Rimalower

Writer-actor-director Ben Rimalower rounds up the best theatre, cabaret and drag stars performing off the beaten path in Provincetown for


Ever since I read William J. Mann's evocative "The Men From The Boys," Provincetown has called out to me. I remember my gay uncle and his partner tantalizing me with stories of seeing an array of fabulous cabaret performances there by everyone from Eartha Kitt to Lea DeLaria. I finally got to go last July 4 when the stakes were too high to overlook: Patti LuPone was doing an informal interview/concert with Seth Rudetsky at Provincetown's Art House Theatre, and there were rumors flying that she'd perform material from Evita she hadn't touched in 30 years. I knew I had to get there.

Luckily, my friends had an apartment for the week and graciously invited me to crash on their couch. The trip was a little rough for a 24-hour tour, but surprisingly inexpensive and easy to arrange: I took the Bolt Bus to Boston and caught the express ferry to Provincetown Harbor. And I don't need to tell you Patti's show was worth the trip. You can download the entire thing on

LuPone recreating Broadway history aside, 24 hours was enough for me to fall in love with Provincetown, and I was heartbroken to leave. Where would I rather be in the summer than a charming seaside town bursting at the seams with world-class cabaret and LGBT pride (so, basically, just world-class cabaret)? I happened to have just that week discovered on YouTube the genius that is Dina Martina, and wouldn't you know she was performing the next night at the Crown & Anchor? But I had to get back to work — and not overstay my welcome on my friends' couch.

When my solo play, Patti Issues, opened at the Duplex last August, my sights were very quickly set on finding a way to perform in Provincetown this summer. And guess what? I'm performing Patti Issues at the Crown & Anchor July 2, 3 and 5 and Aug. 4 as a benefit the Family Equality Council, as part of Family Week. When I looked at the roster for everyone else playing at the Crown & Anchor this summer, not to mention Seth Rudetsky's star-studded Broadway at the Art House series, my luxurious week-long trip to Provincetown suddenly seemed too short. I wish I could stay for the whole summer.

In a sort of transposing of "The Secret," I am going to pretend that I do get to spend the entire season in Provincetown and tell you all the wonderful shows I am going to see!


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