Femia's persona is a mix: one-half Judy Garland at her talk-show wittiest, one half the shade-throwing queen who loved her. In his novel, White writes this bit of repartee: "Grab your tiaras, girls, we're all royalty tonight, why I haven't seen so many crowned heads since Westminster Abbey — " "I know you give head, Abbie, but the only crowns you've seen are on those few molars you've got left."
Gay men don't talk like that any more, and, when Femia does, his whole performance feels like an artifact; enjoyable to see, but removed from any sense of immediacy. This alone would not pack the house at Rising Action.
Courtesy of Rising Action Theatre
Judy Garland's Back With Tommy Femia and Gary Lawrence Through June 8th at Rising Action Theatre, 840 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Visit www.risingactiontheatre.com.
It takes the music to do that — that sad music, looking for a cause for optimism or just an excuse to keep breathing. Which means, I guess, that starlets come and go, but loneliness is made of sturdier stuff.