Robert Gould, Jeremy Wechter and Robert Arbelo’s new musical, “Little House on the Ferry,” set mostly in Fire Island Pines, opened at the American Theatre of Actor’s Chernuchin Theatre, at 314 West 54th Street, on November 3 for a limited, Thursday-to-Sunday run through November 20. Central to “House/Ferrry” are two trios: a love triangle, involving DJ-turned-paralegal Randall—Seph Stanek; his staid lawyer lover Timothy—Sean Loftus; and Randy’s free spirit former lover Jake—Chris Van Kirk—and a threesome of sexy muscleman Max—sexy muscleman Colton Ford; Fire Island virgin Antonio—Kit Balcuns—and almost anybody else. Matt Rodriquez, as Donnie, apparently a refugee from “Boys in the Band,” completes the sextet of principals and the quintet of shareholders—less outsider Jake—on Shady Walk. J. Harrison Ghee, Matthew Griffin, Vinny Celeiro, Salvatore Infantino, Joey Johnson, Sean Justin Scott, and Sai Somboon make up the talented ensemble. The opening night performance is discussed here.
“House/Ferry” has a bubbly opening and closing song in “We’re on Fire Island,” sung with enthusiasm by the ensemble. Other standout songs occur in Act Two and these include catchy rhythm-and-blues number “Jump That Fence,” with which a trio of gay Fire Island deer, the “Staggots,” coax Randy out of a K-hole; Randy’s wistful ballad “(Why can’t I find a catch that’s a) Match for Me,” in which he’s assisted by a rainbow sextet of dancing Fire Island fish; and Randy and Jake’s romantic “If I Sing.”
Besides making us root for the play’s ‘good guys,’ “House/Ferry” devotes a good deal of energy to making us hate its two villains. Donnie, who, at his most innocuous, starts a chant of “lesbians, drag queens, and bears, oh my!” about Cherry Grove, also declares that, in the pecking order, “the only thing below a day tripper is a visitor from the Grove,” and instigates a confrontation between Jake and Timothy by hiring Jake to bartend at Timothy’s birthday party, but sings his own praises to Randy in their song “With a Friend Like Me.” Donnie gets our sympathy solely when he pines for his late lover. Timothy, who sings a love song to his creams, his mirror, and his “Vanity,” trashes gay weddings and dismisses the annual LGBT Pride March as “prancing down Fifth Avenue in leather with drag queens.”
Max and his muscles are appraised in the song “Steroid Queen.” The household from Shady Walk has an adventure at Daniel Nardicio’s Underwear Party in the Grove, in “After Hours,” with the lone dissenter’s alienation from the festivities explored in a moody “Randy Ballet.” Antonio takes his first trip to the Meat Rack and everyone at the Pines Pantry wants to know, “Did You Score?”
Vanessa Leuck designed the costumes, with Riona Faith O’Malley; and Courtney Smith, the set; Kate Febles, the lighting; and Sean Brennan, the sound. Sean Roschman was responsible for choreography.
Various celebrities put in cameo appearances and, on the night considered, Paige Turner participated in the Underwear Party scene, Will Clark was in the Pantry scene, and DJ Randy Bettis was in a Pines Pavillion scene. Nardicio, DJ Rich King, Robbyne Kaamil, Vanessa Diamond, Flotilla Debarge, Gusty Winds, Miss Fire Island Entertainer of the Year Brenda Dharling, Robert Valin, and Bianca Del Rio are promised for other nights.
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