Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Guest Review 5 (2018-2019): LEZZIE WITH A "Z"

“Life Is a Lesbian Cabaret, Old Chum”****

by Elyse Orecchio (guest reviewer)

From time to time Theatre's Leiter Side will be posting reviews of Off-Off Broadway shows my schedule prevents me from seeing. I hope you find the expanded coverage useful. Sam Leiter

When Caitlin Lee Reid took the stage in the intimate cabaret at The Duplex and declared herself a Broadway Baby dyke, I expected the next hour to be a raunchy affair (in a good way). And it was, but the one-woman show was also full of big heart, tender storytelling, and best of all, some real gems from the musical theatre canon. 
Caitlin Lee Reid. Photo: Oh Honey Beavers
In homage to Liza Minnelli’s 1972 television concert, Liza with A “Z,” Reid sports a sleek white pants suit and eventually loses the jacket (hello, ripped arms!). Her twist on some old show tunes that she said surely had lesbian undertones, like “This Was a Real Nice Clambake” (Carousel) and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” (Jesus Christ Superstar) is a hoot of an opener that serves as a welcome introduction to Reid’s powerhouse voice and comedic chops. (The Lesbian Innuendo Medley can be heard here).
Caitlin Lee Reid. Photo: Oh Honey Beavers.
Written by Reid and Will Larche, with direction and choreography by Joe Barros, Lezzie With a “Z” is an autobiographical outline of brief anecdotes between excerpts of show tunes, with a focus on Reid coming of age as a lesbian (spoiler alert: Lady Gaga convinced her to come out to her friends in college) and being gay-married and gay-divorced (her words) by age 27.
Caitlin Lee Reid. Photo: Oh Honey Beavers.
Besides Reid, the driving force in Lezzie is the excellent repertoire selection. There’s a good amount of Sondheim to please the Duplex crowd, not one but two songs from Wonderful Town, and a sweet rendition of “Just in Time” (Bells Are Ringing). It was particularly fun to hear Reid’s “Ring of Keys” (Fun Home), typically sung by a tween. In a moment of empowerment, the audience was invited to take out their own keys and shake them loud and proud. Thanks in part to the two-drink minimum, the participation level was high and the effect was rewarding.
Caitlin Lee Reid. Photo: Oh Honey Beavers.
Lezzie with A ‘Z’ will be donating all proceeds from the April 15 and April 19 performances to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

The Duplex
61 Christopher St., NYC
Through April 26

 Elyse Orecchio studied musical theatre at Emerson College, acting at CUNY Brooklyn College, and English Linguistics & Rhetoric at CUNY Hunter College. She has worked in nonprofit communications for more than a decade. She lives in Sunnyside, Queens, with her husband Joe, kids Theo and Melody, and three cats. @elyseorecchio