Category Archives: Breaking

Chess and WSS in DC

Speaking of Chita, I zipped to our nation’s capital to see a couple of special theatrical events.  The first was the National Symphony performing a truncated concert version of West Side Story.  This almost nonsensical rendition decimated the story to the point that many people couldn’t figure out what was happening!  But it did underline the genius of Leonard Bernstein’s score and Stephen Sondheim’s words.  One expected that an entire symphony orchestra and some of Broadway’s finest young talents would deliver a high-wattage evening, but everything was on a low simmer and never came to a boil.  It was West Side Story Lite – although the staging by Francesca Zambello kept things moving.  In a typical production in a small house, these voices would likely have been fine.  But, given the sound mix, nobody quite rose to the level of the event.  A missed opportunity, indeed.

The following night, I saw the latest revision of the musical Chess, with a new book by Danny Strong and direction by Michael Mayer.  And once again, an all-star cast was on hand, led with aplomb by Raúl Esparza playing Freddy.  While I missed his acerbic take as the Arbiter (the role he played in Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway concert version in 2003), there’s no denying he’s a terrific Freddy, with rock star abandon and swagger balancing out the quieter bipolar moments.  It was a magnetic performance.  Ramin Karimloo may be the best all-around Anatoly I’ve ever seen – complete with a consistent Russian accent!  As Florence, Karen Olivo showed us exactly what was missing from the previous night.  She’s not lost any power, bite, or presence since her 2009 Tony-winning Anita in WSS.  For me, Ruthie Ann Miles was the weakest link.  Her Svetlana looked like a refugee from the mid-90s Moscow bus and truck tour of Miss Saigon – as the matinee cover for Kim!  Was she bad?  No – just not up to the standard of her colleagues.  The theatre had electricity in the air.  Every entrance, every number, every moment was met with a roar of applause, making it quite an “event”.  Has Strong fixed the show?  Nope – he’s solved some problems, but created others.  After seeing this, I’m more certain than ever that a perfect Chess is impossible.  But it’s still a helluva great evening of theatre.


Patti LuPone Tells All

The day after my birthday, I went to The Wallis in Beverly Hills to see BOTH shows by Patti LuPone and Seth Rudetsky.  Patti was in spectacular voice – in fact, she was even better the second show.  Since it was days after the Grammys, she told the story behind her appearance in the tribute to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Before she started, she said, “Is there any press in the audience?  I dunno if I should tell this story if there’s press in the audience.”  After a bit of prodding, she said, “Just don’t print it….oh, go ahead, what the hell,” followed by “No, don’t”.  So, I’m taking that as a yes.  When War Paint was on BroadwayNY1 (a local channel) did a piece on their Sunday morning program about the show.  When the interviewer asked Patti about Lloyd Webber, she said that she thought Andrew was mentally unstable.  Within days, she got a cease-and-desist letter from famed lawyer Bert Fields – who has represented such sane people as Tom Cruise and John Travolta.  She consulted with a lawyer who told her that she could legally express her opinion, so she was in the clear.  Then Lloyd Webber got involved and said it didn’t bother him.  Fast forward a month, and Patti gets a call from her manager saying the Grammys wanted her to sing “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”.  Patti’s response was, “Does Andrew Lloyd Webber know?  If he doesn’t, don’t tell him!”  The manager said Andrew knows, and he’s thrilled!  So maybe he is mentally unstable (interestingly enough, he just admitted to considering suicide three times during bouts of depression).  Back to Patti – they had a nice rehearsal (she says when she said the word “détente”, she meant it would last one day – like a day-tente).  After the show, Andy sent her a very nice note and also left her a complimentary voicemail.  Why Andrew Lloyd Webber has Patti LuPone’s phone number and I don’t is a mystery of monumental proportions.

Typically, Seth gets Patti to sing different songs when they do back-to-back shows.  This time, there was quite a bit of duplication.  The exceptions tended to be the highlights.  In the first show, we got “As Long As He Needs Me” from Oliver, and “Ladies Who Lunch” from the upcoming gender-bender London production of Company, where Patti will play Joanne.  Most people hoped for a surprise appearance from Mandy Patinkin since days earlier, Patti was a special guest when he got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Alas, Mandy was a no-show at the concert.  But the swoonable Peter Gallagher joined Patti for “Old Fashioned Wedding” from Annie Get Your Gun (which they did in concert at Lincoln Center in 1998).  In the second show, we got “Meadowlark”, “Anything Goes”, the Magaldi duet and “Buenos Aires” (assisted by Adam Hunter) , and “Being Alive”.

Since it was Valentine’s Day, many couples turned up for Patti.  At the first show, Sean Hayes and Scott Icenogle were there, as were newlyweds Gary Janetti and Brad Goreski.  For the second show, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his hubby Justin Mikita showed up, as were our soon-to-be West Hollywood Mayor John Duran and my husband, porn legend Kurt Young.  After everything was over, I bumped into Noah Wyle with a woman on each arm.  And all I could think about was when I first started writing this column, I talked about Noah taking a trip across Europe with his male friend and implied (in that innocent way that I have) that perhaps they were more than “friends”.  In the National Enquirer, Noah called me “that gossipmonger”.  So seeing him made my heart go pitter-pat.

Seth returns to The Wallis on March 29th for two shows with Chita Rivera.  Grab your tickets now at

Baio Really WAS In Charge

Now we get to the story of Alexander Polinsky, who is a former child actor.  He was kinda the Danny Pintauro of Charles in Charge.  Polinsky claims that he was on the receiving end of physical abuse, assault, mental torture, sexual harassment, and homophobic bullying by Scott Baio.  The part I took special note of is when Chachi allegedly threw a cup of hot tea in the boy’s face and called him a “fag”.  Now, I’m no expert, but I believe the very definition of the term “fag” is a person who throws hot tea in someone’s face!  Some of Polinksy’s other allegations include Baio once pulling the 12-year-old’s pants down in front of a group of 100 bystanders.  Another time, Scott cut a hole in the canvas wall of Polinsky’s dressing room and shoved his genitals through it.  If pushing your junk through a hole in the wall is a crime, I’ve been a very naughty boy.  I have, however, never had any complaints.

Polinsky has gone public in order to support his friend and Charles in Charge co-star, Nicole Eggert.  Days earlier, Eggert filed sexual assault charges against Baio with the LAPD.  The twosome was joined by everyone’s favorite ambulance chaser, Lisa Bloom.  Polinsky claims his problems with Baio began in an unusual way.  “During the first year of the show, when I was 11 or 12, I observed Scott with our co-star Nicole on his lap backstage.  I was so naïve, I innocently hopped on his lap, expecting to hear a story about Fonzie or Happy Days or something awesome.  Scott Baio was a hero to me.  I was 11 years old.  Instead of telling us a story, Scott immediately threw me off him and began angrily calling me ‘faggot’ while Nicole laughed.”  We now know that when Eggert was on Baio’s lap, he was often manipulating her vagina with his fingers – something I suspect Polinsky wasn’t into.

Tom Daley’s Knocked Up

“I’ve been trying and I just can’t get pregnant.”  
– Nate Berkus describes the efforts he and hubby Jeremiah Brent have had in providing a sibling for
their 2-year-old daughter, Poppy.  Thanks for playing another spirited round of Who’s the Bottom?.

Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black made a big announcement on Valentine’s Day – they’ve hired a surrogate and are having a child.  To make it official, they posted the ultrasound on Instagram.  And I say – with almost no trace of sarcasm – good for them.  Alas, this news has led to many people online attacking the couple.  Some of it seems to be homophobia and jealousy (let’s face it, both of these guys are pretty hot), but some are attacking them for bringing a child into a relationship destined for failure due to their less-than-stellar fidelity, and the diver not being much more than a child himself.  And I say – in all sincerity – mind your own business!  If we stopped every good-looking couple in a doomed relationship from having children, where would my future boyfriends come from?


Bad Boy Topher

I knew it was a matter of time before someone asked this “Ask Billy” question.  Steve in Miami says, “We miss you in Hot Spots.  But since I still read you online, I’ve been wondering when you would address the sexual assault charges against Topher DiMaggio.  Are they true?  I mean, he’s totally hot – who’s saying no to him?”

First, I miss my SoFla fans and hope to be back in print with you again very soon.  But, I will be back in town for the Winter Party.  Many gay men find it hard to imagine anyone not wanting to have sex with Topher DiMaggio.  But, regardless of how hot someone is, no means no.  According to reports, the underwear model (and occasional gay porn star) has been accused of verbal harassment, sexual assault, and even rape.  His fellow gay porn star, Tegan Zayne, claims that the night before they were going to shoot a scene, Topher pressured him into having sex.  DiMaggio responded, saying, “These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core.  All of my relations with this person have been consensual and willing.”  I wonder how many people helped him string those words together.

Shortly after Zayne went public, two other men accused Topher of rape.  Then two more accused him of sexual assault.  One of those attacks allegedly took place at an event in Seattle that Andrew Christian was hosting!  None of this is good news for the underwear giant – especially since DiMaggio (a name I doubt appears on any official paperwork) is the face…er, body of the brand.  Christian says Topher is on “indefinite suspension while we look into the matter”.  I doubt he’s suffering financially – that’s what I hear from several people who claim to have paid for his services.  In case you’re interested in seeing what they get for their money, check out

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